• 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
Sport
Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is Sweden's top scorer in history. PHOTO: TT/Maja Suslin

Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is recovering well from the nagging heel problem that has stopped him playing for Sweden during its Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. READ  

International
Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir
A shot from the video on YouTube.

Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir

Two sisters from Södertälje near Stockholm are celebrating getting more than 1.3 million hits on YouTube, with a video calling for peace in war-torn Syria. READ  

Pirate Bay
Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison
A 2013 image of Svartholm Warg. Photo: TT

Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison

Swedish "hactivist" Gottfrid Svartholm Warg has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for hacking crimes. READ  

Royal family
Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback
Princess Madeleine at a previous Nobel banquet. Photo: TT

Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback

Sweden's Princess Madeleine is scheduled to appear at the Nobel Festival in Stockholm in December, after taking time out from her royal duties to focus on looking after her daughter. READ  

Politics
'We knew that Israel would be critical'
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström (left), with Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

'We knew that Israel would be critical'

Sweden's Foreign Minister has told The Local she respects Israel's decision to recall its ambassador after Sweden officially recognized the State of Palestine, and laughed off comments about IKEA furniture made by her Israeli counterpart. READ  

Analysis
'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'
Doctors say we should make the most of the autumn sunshine. Photo: Shutterstock

'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'

Spending time outdoors this autumn will help you survive a cold, dark Swedish winter. Baba Pendse, Head of Psychiatry at Lund University shares his top tips for battling the seasonal blues with The Local. READ  

Sports
Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid
Skiers hit the slopes in Åre, western Sweden. Photo: TT

Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid

Norwegian sports officials have said they want to co-host the winter Olympics with Sweden in 2026. But there has so far been no official response from Sweden. READ  

National
Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court
Photo: TT

Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court

A teenage boy who painted anti-Israel slogans and symbols on the Concert Hall in Gothenburg has been convicted for the damages he caused, but he walked free from racial agitation charges. READ  

Entertainment
A closer look at Sweden's rising stars
Swedish actresses Sandra Huldt and Julia Ragnarsson. Julia (right) has been nominated for a Rising Star award. Photo: TT

A closer look at Sweden's rising stars

Like to be ahead of the game when it comes to the next big thing on the silver screen? We find out more about the Swedish nominees for the Rising Star award to be presented at Stockholm's International Film Festival next week. READ  

Science
Swedish women in two-year sex pill study
Contraceptive pills have been linked to mood swings. Photo: Shutterstock

Swedish women in two-year sex pill study

Three hundred women from across Sweden are taking part in a study designed to demonstrate that modern contraceptive pills don't lead to decreased libido or mood swings. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
Sport
Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
Blog updates

31 October

Editor’s Blog, October 31st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Welcome to our latest 60-second round-up of the week’s news. First, Sweden made headlines around the..." READ »

 

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
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?
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
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
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

989
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