• Sweden's news in English
 

Fatal pile-up blamed on lax new winter-tyre law

16 Jan 2013, 16:43

Published: 16 Jan 2013 16:43 GMT+01:00

“The lack of winter tyres on trucks is one of the reasons this accident happened. The new law is not good enough,” Jon Stenbeck, spokesman for the Swedish Automobile Association (Motormännens Riksförbund), told The Local.

Since January 1st, heavy vehicles only need winter tyres on the wheels receiving power from the engine, and only when they are driven in winter conditions.

Effectively, a truck driver can forego replacing the tyres during winter if the weather stays clear and the road conditions don't become hazardous.

A road covered in “snow, ice, sludge or frost” is the official definition of a hazardous surface, according to the Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen).

It is up to local police to say when those conditions apply.

RELATED PHOTO GALLERY: Pictures from the scene of the crash

Stenbeck warns that the law is near impossible to enforce with the hundreds of shipments from Europe entering southern Sweden.

“People don’t know when the weather will be bad and it’s expensive to change the tyres," he said.

"Drivers don't follow the law and police in southern Sweden's Skåne county don’t have the resources to check every single lorry that comes into the country.”

For increased safety, he argues that heavy vehicles should have the special traction tyres on every single wheel and for the duration of winter.

Local police, however, claim there’s been no need to check the winter tyres of any trucks yet, as the roads have been safe and clear ever since the new law was passed.

“We’ve not had reason to enforce the law until Tuesday's accident,” Lars Förstell of the Skåne police told The Local.

“The law only applies when the roads are slippery. People can decide if they want to change their tyres in winter or not, but you can only drive around with normal tyres if the weather is good.”

Förstell refused to comment on whether a lack of winter tyres contributed to the accident.

“We’re not going to debate theories, we’re investigating details. We've only just started to gather information,” he said.

Police described Tuesday's mass crash as chaotic, with several drivers having to be cut out of their mangled cars. Initial reports said several people had died, but the death tally was downgraded to one fatality.

Photographs from the scene showed the dense fog that contributed to poor visibility, and lines of cars and trucks spilling haphazardously across the lanes of the low bridge near Helsingborg.

The extensive damage following the pile-up was not limited to just the vehicles involved. Response teams are currently checking the bridge itself for cracks, according to Sweden’s Traffic Agency (Trafikverket).

“They’re investigating the bridge itself right now, checking for safety and working on a prognosis for when it can be reopened. We have no estimates yet for when that may be,” Roger Falk at the agency told The Local.

“We’ve been clearing the bridge since the accident and have been working throughout the night.”

The accident occurred just before midday on the Tranarp Bridge just northeast of Helsingborg, and the roads in both directions have been shut down since.

The bridge is just 30 kilometres from the a ferry line Denmark and Sweden, and lies on the E4, a popular route for shipments from Europe to Sweden and Norway.

A spokesperson at Trafikverket explained that it was the responsibility of such truck drivers to ensure they were abiding by Swedish road rules when entering the country.

“Heavy vehicles are supposed to have winter tyres, and drivers from other countries should understand this,” Monica Näslund told The Local.

"It’s Swedish law and it’s up to them to know this before entering the country."

Truck drivers further north in Sweden, where the temperatures are lower and the roads are more likely to be hazardous, have long preferred winter tyres, according to Stenbeck at Motormännen.

He believes other motorists driving in Sweden can learn from these drivers, as well as from Tuesday’s accident.

“Cars with good winter tyres are simply easier to drive in these conditions. The lack of winter tyres and excessive speed are most likely the reasons behind the accident,” he told The Local.

“People need to take their time when driving. This is an educational thing - winter tyres are hugely important.”

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

Related links:

Your comments about this article

17:07 January 16, 2013 by engagebrain
An insane change in the law - almost designed to be unenforceable - police can only check lorries when there is snow or ice on the roads, times when the are probably just trying to keep traffick moving Even then trailer does not need snow tyres

Do lorry drivers pull over and change their tyres when they hit snow, or do they just press on and hope not to crash ?

And the penalty for not having snow tyres is what a 5 sek fine ?
18:50 January 16, 2013 by J Jack
"The bridge is just 30 kilometres from the Öresund Bridge" , WRONG .. It's 98 km between the bridges.
19:41 January 16, 2013 by johan rebel
Great, here we go again!

First they blame the weather, now the tires. Nothing whatoeover wrong with the drivers, of course.
23:29 January 16, 2013 by Eddieb261
as an englishman living in Sweden.. it never fails to amaze me the way some people drive here when its snowing... I can only assume they think that winter tyres make them immune to anything like skidding or slipping... regularly they overtake me in excess of 120 km... when there is heavy snow.... i dont go over 80 at most in conditions... they are all mad....
06:38 January 17, 2013 by jimfromcanada
Just make it mandatory to use snow tyres from Nov 1 to May 31st for all vehicles. It will reduce the accident rate and reduce the number of times you have to get shovelled out of a snow drift.
08:53 January 18, 2013 by karex
#4 I agree with you. Worse when a car creeps up close behind me impatient to pass, sometimes they do crazy things while overtaking too.

There has been debate over the past couple of years or so about not allowing studded winter tires any more. This accident if indeed caused by black ice is one clear example of what can happen if studded tires are prohibited. Unstudded snow tires are only effective on snow, not ice. You need studs for ice and even so, if the ice is deep enough the studs will not have such a large effect.

I lost my car last winter on a 20-meter patch of deep ice where recent rains had flooded the road (bad drainage) and then there was a sudden freeze and light snow which hid the ice beneath it. Plus the local authorities had decided not to salt some roads to "save money". Unfortunately, this ice patch started on a tight curve. I had studded tires and took that curve well under 40 km/hr and it still didn't help. The road was narrow, with no shoulder to speak of and no guard-rail around a deep drop-off towards the outside of the curve. Because my speed was so low it was a gentle roll-over and I came out without a scratch or even a bruise but it still totaled my car. Had I been driving the insane speeds that I see some people drive in winter, I would most certainly have lost my life.
08:11 January 19, 2013 by Mijnforum
And what about using a mobilephone ( not handsfree) and drive at the same time ????

If I should get paid for every as**** who was talking on the phone and driving at the same time and almost push me from the road.....I'll be rich !

A carcrash I was in because of a driver on the phone , during snowfall , that lost control of his lättlastbil and crashed into me frontally.
Today's headlines
One dead after shooting and stabbing in Rinkeby
Police examining the murder scene in Rinkeby. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

One dead after shooting and stabbing in Rinkeby

5 hours ago

One person has been killed and three others injured in a shooting and stabbing incident in the Rinkeby suburb of Stockholm.

Swedish police: ‘Help us find kidnapped man’
Anton was abducted in a red VW Passat. Photo of car (not involved in incident): Praiselightmedia, via Wikimedia

Swedish police: ‘Help us find kidnapped man’

7 hours ago

A 27-year-old man was beaten and abducted by several people in a red VW Passat earlier this week in Gothenburg.

Sweden Democrats: 'We will run the country'
Jimmie Åkesson, the leader of the Sweden Democrats, speaking on Saturday. Photo: Rickard Nilsson/TT

Sweden Democrats: 'We will run the country'

1 day ago

In his keynote summer speech on Saturday in his hometown of Sölvesborg, Jimmie Åkesson, the leader of the far-right Sweden Democrats, predicted that his party would one day be strong enough to run the country and called for a referendum on immigration.

Plane crash-lands on Swedish road
Photo: Adam Ihse

Plane crash-lands on Swedish road

1 day ago

A light aircraft was forced to land on Highway 27 outside Borås at lunchtime. No one was harmed.

The Local investigates
Should more people live on boats in Stockholm?
House boats at Pampas Marina. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Should more people live on boats in Stockholm?

1 day ago

Living on a boat in Stockholm used to be the preserve of the rich. But as the city's housing crisis swells, could more affordable floating accommodation help provide a solution to the shortage? The Local investigates.

Julian Assange
Sweden and Ecuador set to launch Assange talks
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Photo: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Sweden and Ecuador set to launch Assange talks

2 days ago

Sweden is seeking to reach a deal to pave the way for prosecutors to question Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London where the Wikileaks founder has been holed up for over three years as he fights an extradition to Sweden over rape allegations.

Stockholm bin men rescue doomed kitten
'It trembled like a leaf'. Photo: Bekir Mercil/Private

Stockholm bin men rescue doomed kitten

2 days ago

Stockholm waste collector Bekir Mercil and his two colleagues were on Friday hailed heroes of the day after they saved a terrified kitten who had fallen into a garbage truck, stuck in tonnes of food waste headed for the incinerator.

Trio in court over attack on Swedish serial rapist
Umeå held a demonstration against sexual violence toward women when Lindgren was released in July. Photo: John Gunseum/TT

Trio in court over attack on Swedish serial rapist

2 days ago

UPDATED: Three men have been remanded in custody over a weekend golf club attack on one of Sweden's most notorious serial rapists who was released from prison earlier this month.

Swedes debate capital's first Airbnb rent ‘ban’
The apartment is located in Stockholm's trendy Södermalm neighbourhood. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Swedes debate capital's first Airbnb rent ‘ban’

3 days ago

UPDATED: A landmark ruling banning a woman in Stockholm from renting out her apartment via the home-sharing website Airbnb after a rent tribunal likened the letting with running a "hotel business" on the premises has sparked debate in Sweden.

Text messages to warn Swedes of terror attacks
Swedish Interior Minister Anders Ygeman. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Text messages to warn Swedes of terror attacks

2 days ago

The Swedish government wants to step up its fight against terror with a new strategy that includes warning civilians to stay away from certain geographical areas via text message.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
This Swedish teen was told she was 'too big' to be a model
Lifestyle
Six reasons to stay outdoors this week
Gallery
People-watching: August 26th
Sponsored Article
Nine places where Stockholm needs more English
National
Rescued baby lemur gets new Stockholm home
Blog updates

28 August

Editor’s blog, August 28th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, It was all glitz and glamour in Sweden this week as Stockholm Fashion Week got..." READ »

 

18 August

Preteritum eller presens perfekt? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hello everyone, It’s grammar time ! I got an interesting question about the past tense vs present..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Stockholm Fashion Week turns island into Mars
Sponsored Article
'It gives you the guts to believe in yourself'
Gallery
Property of the week: Stora Essingen, Stockholm
National
Swedish crayfish thieves caught red handed by officers
National
Veil soon to be lifted on new Millennium sequel novel
Gallery
People-watching: August 21st - 22nd
Cecilia Larsson Lantz/imagebank.sweden.se
Presented by Stockholm Academic Forum
International students welcomed to Stockholm
National
The Bridge: What does the third season have in store?
National
Lucky escape for Swedes after 'dead' bear launches attack
National
Syrian asylum seeker comic: 'We don't prefer Sweden any more'
National
Are anti-immigration nationalists really now Sweden's biggest party?
Lifestyle
Baby joy for Swedish crime queen and her wrestler boyfriend
National
Soldier accused of faking first Isis attack in Sweden
National
Fire alert as Sweden sizzles in summer heatwave
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th
National
Meet the Swede who is crazy for Norway’s mass killer
National
Swede's review of night in drunk tank goes viral
National
VIDEO: Swedish teen melts hearts with this incredible Idol audition
Society
What's a Swedish crayfish party?
National
UN: Sweden can't be left to shoulder migrant crisis alone
Gallery
Property of the week: Skogås, Huddinge
National
Men outstrip women for first time
Society
IN PICTURES: Wooden town resembles 'war zone' after huge fire
Gallery
People-watching: August 14th-16th
Sport
Swedish referee shuts viral Facebook page explaining his decisions
Business & Money
A studio in Stockholm or a castle in the countryside?
National
How did twelve skeletons end up beneath a Swedish castle?
Pharmacy to launch plasters for darker skin in anti racism drive
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
National
Millennium sequel author labelled 'grave robber'
National
Two metre long python stops traffic in Malmö
National
IN PICTURES: Shoppers pay tribute to Ikea stabbing victims
Technology
Danish 'monster' pulled out of Swedish waters
National
Bizarre baby baptism for hockey fan
Gallery
Property of the week: Löderup, Ystad
National
Sunshine brightens up Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: August 7th-9th
National
Shocking video sheds light on Swedish 'anti-gay discrimination'
Sponsored Article
Getting pregnant the Swedish way
Sponsored Article
Outsourcing drives Apreel's Europe growth
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,205
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se