• Sweden edition
 
Fatal pile-up blamed on lax new winter-tyre law

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

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

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
National
Chainsaw man destroys house in family feud
The man used a chainsaw to destroy most of the Lidköping home. Photo: Shutterstock

Chainsaw man destroys house in family feud

A man in central Sweden has gone on a rampage with a chainsaw after a family housing dispute took an unexpected turn. READ  

National
Man frames beggar with stolen tablet computer
The beggar was detained for almost 24 hours after the accusation. Photo: TT

Man frames beggar with stolen tablet computer

A man in southern Sweden has landed in hot water after he stole a tablet computer, gave it to a beggar, then reported her to the police. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden ready to use force to surface sub
The Swedish Armed Forces have sent out 200 troops. Photo: TT

Sweden ready to use force to surface sub

UPDATED: Sweden's military has announced that if it finds a suspect foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago, it is prepared to force it to the surface "with weapons if necessary". READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sub hunt: 'There is something out there'
Former navy officer Bosse Linden in Vaxholm. Photo: Maddy Savage

Sub hunt: 'There is something out there'

Stockholm's archipelago is the focus of the biggest military operation in Sweden since the Cold War. The Local is in the region's capital, Vaxholm, to see what residents make of the drama. READ  

Presented by CurrencyFair
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
CurrencyFair co-founder Brett Meyers

CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers

Tired of losing money when you send cash back home? Join other expats in Sweden who avoid bank fees and hidden charges by sending money internationally with CurrencyFair, an online marketplace where secure transactions are faster and cheaper. READ  

European Union
Extremist saves Sweden Democrats' EU group
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: TT

Extremist saves Sweden Democrats' EU group

The EU group that bound several Eurosceptic parties including the Sweden Democrats has been saved by an MEP from a far-right Polish group, just a week after it appeared to have crumbled, according to a UK press report. READ  

Stockholm 'submarine' hunt
Timeline: Mystery 'submarine' in Stockholm
Sweden's Armed Forces are out in force after reports of a foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago. Photo: TT

Timeline: Mystery 'submarine' in Stockholm

The world has had its periscope on Sweden since the Swedish military launched an extensive hunt for what is rumoured to be a damaged Russian submarine in the Stockholm archipelago. Here is the timeline of events so far. READ  

Business & Money
Profit leap for Swedbank
A branch of Swedbank in Malmö. Photo. TT

Profit leap for Swedbank

Swedbank has seen its profits rise higher than expected. READ  

New coalition
Sick pay U-turn from Sweden's new coalition
Stefan Löfven has changed his strategy on sick pay. Photo: TT

Sick pay U-turn from Sweden's new coalition

Small businesses won't face rising sick pay costs, following a policy reversal from Sweden's new coalition government. READ  

Stockholm 'submarine' hunt
Vessel hunt continues at 'full strength'
Minehunter HMS Koster takes part in the search in the Stockholm archipelago on Sunday. Photo: Marko Säävälä/TT

Vessel hunt continues at 'full strength'

The search for a suspected foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago continues with "full strength" on Tuesday morning, according to Sweden's armed forces. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
National
Sweden deploys troops over underwater threat
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Blog updates

19 October

Getting it (Blogweiser) »

"Follow Joel Sherwood on FB Few watch baseball in Sweden. This is excellent when your team loses..." READ »

 

17 October

Editor’s Blog, Oct 17th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Here’s the whole week of news in just 60 seconds. The most-read story was about a..." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
National
A Touch of Scandinavia: Reindeer in the kitchen
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Lifestyle
Sweden's The Bridge to become 'more Danish'
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Politics
Ten new minister faces you should know
Tech
First womb transplant baby in world born in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 5th
National
What's on in Sweden
National
Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' protection
Society
Interview with Geena Davis: 'I want to be in a Swedish movie'
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
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

1,008
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
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:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN