With just over 200 traffic deaths, 2011 was a historically good year for road safety.
According to figures from Politiken newspaper and the Danish Road Directorate (Vejdirektoratet), 204 people have died in traffic accidents thus far in 2011, besting the previous record of 255 set last year. This yearÂ’s projected total is nearly half that of 2008, when 406 traffic deaths were recorded.
According to the traffic safety council RÃ¥det for Sikker Trafik, the harsh winter conditions of the past few years are a primary reason for the decrease, presumably because of extra precautions taken by drivers during extreme winter weather. Also credited with the drop in fatalities were newer and safer automobile models as well as increased media coverage of traffic accidents.
2011Â’s steep decline in traffic deaths was greeted warmly by Anders Rosbo, head of the traffic safety council RÃ¥det for Sikker Trafik.
Â“This is historic and very well done by Danes,Â” Rosbo told Politiken. Â“But we shouldnÂ’t just accept it. We should get the numbers down even lower Â– both in terms of deaths and injuries in traffic. The EU has set a goal of halving the number of traffic deaths from 2010 to 2020 and that must absolutely be DenmarkÂ’s minimum target.Â”
Rosbo pointed to eliminating the use of mobile phones in cars as a key step in further decreasing traffic fatalities. In July, the Accident Investigation Board (AIB) appealed to parliament to fully ban the use of mobile phones in cars. Current law already bans using a handheld mobile phone while driving, but AIBÂ’s proposal would also ban Â‘handsÂ’freeÂ’ car kits, in which the phones are placed in a holder within the vehicle.