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ROAD SAFETY PROBLEMS in POLAND in 2018

date of publication: 16 października 2013

Road accidents, fatalities and seriously injured on Polish roads have been on a downward trend in 2010-2018 but is not enough to achieve the goal of the National Road Safety Programme (based on the Vision Zero approach) adopted for years 2013-2020. For the past 9 years the number of accidents has decreased by 18,5 %, the number of fatalities - by 26,7 % and the number of injured - by 23,7% (including a drop in number of seriously injured by 4,6%). The number of vehicles has increased by 30,6%.

ROAD SAFETY PROBLEMS in POLAND in 2018

 

The general situation of road safety in Poland

 

There has been a visible and steady but irregular downward trend in accidents, fatalities
and seriously injured on Polish roads in recent years (2010-2018). In the years 2010-2018:

  • the number of accidents decreased by 18,5%
  •  the number of fatalities decreased by 26,7%
  •  the number of injured decreased by 23,7% (including the decrease among seriously injured
    by 4,6%)
  • number of vehicles increased by 30,6%.

In 2017, there was a significant decrease compared to the previous year. In 2018, the number
of accidents and injuries decreased but the number of deaths increased.

While comparing year 2017 to 2018:

  • the number of road accidents decreased from 32 760 to 31 674 (-3,3%)
  • the number of fatalities increased from 2 831 to 2 862 (1,1%)
  • the number of injured decreased from 39 466 to 37 359 (-5,3%), including seriously injured decrease of 1,3% ( from 11 103 to 10 963)1

Poland compared to other EU countries

 

The risk of fatalities on roads per 1 million inhabitants in Poland was one of the highest among the countries of the European Union in 2018. The rate was in Poland 75 fatalities which meant 2,5 more than the best country, the United Kingdom with 28 deaths. The average for all EU countries was 52 fatalities per 1 million inhabitants. Analyzing road safety situation in the European Union, Poland is still in the group of countries with the "the most dangerous roads" on 24th place out of 28 EU’ countries.
Poland likes others European Union countries will not meet the objectives of the National Road Safety Programme (based on the Vision Zero approach) adopted for years 2013-2020. Poland’ targets referred to 2010 means that the number of fatalities would decrease by 50% and the number of seriously injured by 40%. There should not be more than 2 000 fatalities and not more than 6 900 seriously injured on Polish roads in 2020 . There is a widening gap between the actual and desired progress towards the EU 2020 target.
In 2018 two years before the end of the Program, Poland achieved half of the plan with only 26,7% reducing number of fatalities and only 4,8% reducing of seriously injured.

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Road accidents in Poland in 2018, the Police General Headquarters, Road Traffic Safety Department.

National Road Safety Programme 2013 – 2020 adopted by the National Road Safety Council on 20.06.2013:
http://www.krbrd.gov.pl/files/file/Programy/KRBRD-Program-P1a-20140422-S2-K3d-EN.pdf

 

When compared to other EU countries, Poland has 76 fatalities per million inhabitants

in 2018 (Fig. below).

 

The road safety conditions in Poland in many aspects reflect the conditions in other EU countries. However, there are some specific problems which demand special attention and urgent actions in the area of road safety in our country. The most essential road safety problems in Poland are connected with excessive speeding and high percentage of pedestrians and cyclists among road fatalities. Vulnerable road users (pedestrian, cyclists, moped rides, motorcyclists) are significant group of fatalities (49%) in road accidents in Poland.

 

Excessive speeding

On roads in Poland surveyed in 2017, 70-80% of drivers exceeded the speed limit and 30-50% of drivers exceeded the speed limit by more than 10 km / h. In 2013, 64% of drivers exceeded permissible limits. During 6 years (between 2008-2013) the number of vehicles exceeding speed limits has increased both on national roads outside cities (by 6%) and dual streets in cities (by 7%). Speed management in Poland requires introducing speed cameras and inevitability of punishment of excessive speeding. The purpose of speed supervision is common traffic calming with speed cameras on all types of roads. Effectiveness of speed cameras is assessed by systematic speed tests (conducted in past years). Introducing rules of penalties (the inevitability of punishment) is a great help to kill speed.

 

Pedestrians

In comparison with other EU countries, Poland has extremely high level of pedestrians ‘risk. Pedestrians were 19,2% of all casualties in road accidents in Poland in 2018. In 7 548 road accidents with pedestrians 803 (28,1%) people died and 6 918 (18,5%) were injured (including seriously 2 665 people, which was 24,3%). The risk of death in a road accident increases with age. Similar to other EU countries, the largest group among casualties of road accidents in Poland are elderly people, aged over 60 (37,1%). An average risk level for people aged over 70 years are up to 7 times higher than for children aged from 2 to 3.

 

Cyclists

In comparison to car drivers, cyclists are small, but increasing group of road users in Poland. They constitute about 2% of total population road users, however, their number grows every year.

In 2018 cyclists participated in 4 712 road accidents with 286 fatalities and with 4 259 people injured (4 233 injured cyclists within 1 435 seriously and 26 injured passengers of bicycle – within 9 seriously). While comparing the number of accidents with cyclist to 2017 there were more of 500 accidents in 2018 (increasing rate by 11%). More and more cyclists appear in cities, where the infrastructure is constantly adjusted to the requirements of cycling, but present road design creates often a risk to cyclists. Just as other vulnerable road users (such as pedestrians, moped riders, and motorcyclists), cyclists suffer from the most serious injuries in road accidents. Cyclists in Poland often do not use any additional protective equipment (e.g. helmets or special gloves) that could save them from certain injuries or – at least - minimize their severities. Additional equipment, increasing their visibility on the roads is used more often than before.

 

Drink driving

The risk caused by the people driving under the influence of alcohol has been progressively reducing for several years. It is a result of cultural changes that took place in the last decade in Poland. Changes in style of alcohol drinking causes higher consumption of light alcoholic beverages (i.e. beer and wine), and reduction of strong spirit drinks. In addition, the Police has significantly improved the system of alcohol testing for drivers. Positive changes in alcohol statistics due to the road accidents in Poland are as well as a result of different social attitudes towards people driving under the influence of alcohol.

Number of road accidents with participation of road users under the influence of alcohol is reducing in Poland. Drivers, pedestrians and passengers being under the influence of alcohol participated in 2018 in 2 134 road accidents (6,7% of total number of accidents) which resulted of 266 deaths (9,3% of all fatalities) with 2 439 injured (6,5 % of all  injures). 2017/2018 there was a drop of 654 accidents in 2018, drop of 75 fatalities and reduce of  711 injuries.

Between 2010 and 2018 the number of accidents caused by the road users under the influence of alcohol decreased from 4 524 to 2 779. The number of fatalities dropped from 455 to 370  and injuries from 5 620 to 3 112.

The BAC limit in Poland is 0,2‰ for all road users, which is lower than in most EU countries.