While Greece has long lagged behind its fellow European Union countries in highway safety, historically recording a high number of traffic deaths per capita, the country is now reporting an impressive reduction in fatalities.
According to a recent Twitter post from the European Transport Safety Council, Greece is now listed as one of the top countries in the reduction of the number of its road fatalities in the past decade. Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Portugal were also given special recognition in this area.
Executive Director of the ETSC, Antonio Avenoso, echoed these findings by saying in a follow-up post that “While progress across Europe has disappointed over the last nine years, some countries have been quietly undergoing a road safety revolution.”
This very positive development serves as a testament to Greece’s efforts in reducing its previously poor record for traffic fatalities; this has been accomplished through a two-pronged approach, a combination of stricter laws and greater public safety awareness.
The construction of the country’s modern motorway network, which has a total length of 2,100 kilometers (1,304 miles), as well as increased monitoring of these roads by traffic police, has also helped to reduce traffic deaths throughout the decade.
In 2010 alone, the number of traffic fatalities in Greece reached 1,258, a troubling statistic that decreased to 699 by the end of 2019 due to the wide-ranging initiatives taken by the government.
Despite these improvements, however, reckless driving, speeding, driving while under the influence, using a mobile phone at the wheel and a general disregard for the use of seatbelts are behaviors which are still prevalent, and they contribute greatly to the number of roadside accidents in Greece.
While there has been considerable progress made over time, according to the ETSC’s Annual Report, it is still not enough to meet the target which had been set for 2020.
Countries like Greece are now starting to prepare national roadside strategies for the coming decade in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
With modern behavioral shifts favoring walking and cycling in urban areas, changes in infrastructure, and lower speed limits, it is likely that road death statistics may be greatly impacted in countries like Greece well into the future.
For both the European Transport Safety Council as well as the Hellenic Police, raising public awareness and promoting education on road safety remain top priorities.
The 14th Annual Road Safety Performance Index Report for 2020 can be accessed here.