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Traffic fatalities up by 28 percent in Sweden

Published: 04 Jul 2011 14:10 GMT+02:00

February saw the most accidents. While last year the second month of the year saw eight people die on the roads, this year 26 lives were taken.

A further breakdown of the numbers reveals 23 pedestrians killed against nine through the same period last year, in addition to 83 fatalities while driving compared to last year’s 75, and 21 motorcyclists dead against 13 for the first half of 2010.

The Transport Administration's Director General Gunnar Malm could not draw conclusions or definitive answers as to why traffic fatalities are on the rise.

“I think it is actually purely random factors, and if we look at the average in recent years, it is actually a reduction,” he told the TT news agency.

Malm pointed out the decrease from five years ago, where the year’s midpoint hovered just above 170 traffic fatalities. He said February 2010, with only eight deaths, stands out.

“It was an extreme month. We had severe winter conditions which made people cautious and perhaps even keep the car parked. February last year was actually tougher than this year.”

Last year 266 people in Sweden in total were killed in traffic, against 358 the year before.

But in 2010, traffic statistics began to exclude fatalities caused by suicide, which on average accounts for about 30 deaths a year.

The new quantifying method has not yet been administered for this year, which Malm said will reduce the numbers.

Malm also emphasized that looking at individual semi-annual or even monthly statistics can affect the numbers and create the illusion of a rising trend.

He said last year was perhaps "a good one.”

“I believe that chance played into our favour quite significantly during the year, and it is important to see the longer trend,” he explained.

During the first five months of 2011, traffic volume increased by 2.1 percent in the national road network, with 1.9 percent accounting for passenger cars and 3.5 percent for trucks.

“We know that when traffic increases so does the accident propensity. There's definitely a connection,” Malm told TT.

He would not yet talk about reasons why the numbers look so grim for certain types of road users or what could possibly be done to reduce fatal traffic incidents.

“We are analyzing this, they are very recent figures,” Malm said.

TT/The Local/kh (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

20:16 July 4, 2011 by planet.sweden
The idiocy and aggression of Swedish drivers has to be seen to be believed.

Here in Stockholm drivers pay about as much attention to zebra crossings - where they are meant to give way to pedestrians - as the proverbial Greek taxi driver. Speeding is the norm, respect for other drivers zero, and indicating before turning a long forgotten art.

All of these issues can be multiplied by 10 among middle aged drivers of automatic 4x4s and powerful sports cars, the owners of which believe they can do as they please.

Add in drink and drugs and as far as road fatalities on Swedish roads are concerned, the only way is up.

The Transport Administration's Director General Gunnar Malm is deluding himself if he thinks the near one third increase in fatalities is down to "random factors". He needs to wake up and smell the coffee. Sweden is a changed country, with a changed culture, and changed attitudes. Gone is community, now its all me me me, first first first, and that's reflected in traffic accidents.
07:04 July 5, 2011 by Scott McCoy
I totally agree with ya PS.I,ve driven in many citys,D.C,N.Y,L.A,torionto,just to name a couple and I,ve never seen such Ignorant and bad drivers as I,ve seen in Sweden.Oh when I came here everyone said,Sweden is so good and they train there drivers so well when they take there tests,well I don't know what kind of tests they give them here,,stupidity tests maybe.

They sure as hell don't know how to drive here.
08:35 July 5, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
Not even in my country you find so many stupids driving a car, bus or whatever. Swedes are amongst the worst drivers in the whole world. As long as they keep on with their way of driving one meter behind the car in front, at 60 where is 30, ignoring the blinkers and having no respect for human lives, in 2012 they will be granted with the International Idiocy Prize.

Both, Scott McCoy and planet.sweden, are completely right, but they forgot the stupid women who are chatting and sending sms messages while driving. They are simply retarded, but if you "dare" calling their attention, they insult you with the nicest Swedish words they have in the day by day dictionary.

Winter makes thing worse, because Swedes keep on driving like stupids, regardless if we are under one meter snow, have ice on the streets or whatever. The owe the streets and you know why? Because they are Swedes, the cream of the coffee in the whole world.

I can consider to be a lucky person. I have survived two or three times when I managed to avoid one ot those Neanderthals behind a wheel. Yes, the same type who comes to an ICA affair and leaves the car in f ront of the entrance or takes to places to leave his Volvo, Saab or truck.

God saves Scott and planet from these and other "Swedish drivers".
09:00 July 5, 2011 by just a question
It could be worse. Obviously you haven't seen Norwegian drivers
10:24 July 5, 2011 by engagebrain
Last week I was undertaken at 100 kphby a car towing another car with a short rope - 20 kph higher than the speed limit. I am unsure if both drivers were using their mobile phones.

The road system in Sweden is excellent, as are most drivers, but around 1% require serious police attention - are there any traffic police ?
10:28 July 5, 2011 by Eroth
Well, we could always put some kind of ban on talking on the phone and messaging while driving, it would be a start.
10:50 July 5, 2011 by Twiceshy
I think some of you are exaggerating quite a lot about how bad Swedish drivers are...

That said, it is true that people have a tendency to tailgate and drive in the middle lane too much...
12:08 July 5, 2011 by karex
@twiceshy - don't forget not using blinkers or only using them 2 meters from their turn, which really makes them quite useless at that point.

@J.L. Belmar - a bit sexist of you to claim women are the SMS and mobile phone offenders while driving. I have seen both sexes practice this bad habit. Rule of thumb, if they're driving erradically in front of you, either they're sleepy, drunk or talking on the phone. All of these situations can cause a very serious outcome.

I agree with Eroth it has always suprised me that talking on the phone by drivers is allowed in Sweden where in other countries it is banned, unless you are using a bluetooth or other hands-free device, in some places.
12:49 July 5, 2011 by Viking1
Drivers and the road system are not great in Sweden! There are too many drivers that do not have the patience and courtesy towards other road users. Whether these are of Swedish origin or otherwise there should be some serious hard thinking carried out by the authorities to get drivers back on track. The loss of one life due to careless driving is one too many in any country. Get serious, stop using mobile phones whilst driving or any other substance that impairs your driving ability.

Being a non Swede I pose a couple of of questions:-

Can't get my head around motor cyclists that buzz along the paths for pedestrians - is this legal?

Why do we have to stop at "pedestrian" crossings for cyclists who do not dismount and walk across the road?
16:19 July 5, 2011 by karex
@Viking1: I have been told that cyclists do not have the same rights as pedestrians and MUST dismount for cars to stop. Having said that however, you will most likely be prosecuted if you hit one anyway. This poses a problem: my car and I were run over by a cyclist once who appeared out of no-where at approx. 40km/hour. When I say run over, I mean that it barreled right into me smack in the middle of the passenger side of the car. Then the kid just fled and left me with the expense of fixing the damages both to the body work and a new paint job...
17:13 July 5, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
@karex

I forgot to add that I have not seen men feeding their babies, painting their fingernails, fixing their hairdoos or reading a novel like I have seen women doing. If that is for you being sexist, yes. And so what. Your comment is a typical feminist comment. Now you can tell me "and so what" and we are even.

I have witnessed more accidents provoked by women than by men. There is a difference though. The majority of men do not try to blaim the victim. The majority of women they are looking always for an excuse for blaiming the victim for not paying attention when they are about to hit him.

If you want to know how to drive, please read "A Little Guide on How to Drive a Little bit less Bad". Unfortunately it is not written in Swedish, that is, assuming you are a Swede.
21:02 July 5, 2011 by Viking1
No, I am English not Swedish. You are probably right about the being prosecuted if you hit a cyclist on a pedestrian crossroad, better luck next time. I'm not looking for "how to drive" either. All of us just need to be more careful and courteous on the road but that's just a dream I guess. Welcome to Sweden as my Swedish colleagues keep telling me.
10:34 July 6, 2011 by Twiceshy
> Why do we have to stop at "pedestrian" crossings for cyclists who do not dismount and walk across the road?

I never do unless it's really necessary.

Riding a bike and expecting priority on the pedestrian crossing is having your cake and eating it too.
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