Speeders face police clampdown

Swedish police have announced a series of tough measures to curb speeding drivers. The previous policy of tolerating people driving at up to 15 kilometres per hour over the speed limit will now be scrapped.

Presenting the new approach on Tuesday, the Swedish Police Force said it would install 1,000 new speed cameras on specially selected roads around the country, and would give less leeway to people who break the speed limit. In the future, anyone who drives at more than six kilometres per hour over the limit will be fined for speeding. Until now, police have tolerated speeds of 10-15 kilometres over the limit.

“Through increased controls we hope to reduce the average speed and thereby the number of accidents,” Stefan Strömberg, head of the Swedish Police Force, said at the presentation of the new strategy.

The new approach will be implemented immediately. It will be accompanied by a rise in the number of traffic patrols. Controlling speeding is currently the job of special traffic police, but in the future all uniformed police officers will be responsible for monitoring drivers.

Four areas will be prioritized with the aim of reducing the number of accidents: reducing speed, reducing drinking and driving, encouraging the use of seatbelts, child car seats and motorbike helmets, and tackling the growing problem of aggressive driving, with dangerous overtaking manoeuvres and jumping red lights in focus.

Police have bought 700 alcohol breath-test kits as part of the crackdown. Drivers who have been stopped will in the future be able to be breath-tested by police, regardless of why they were stopped.

Strömberg insisted that it was not the police’s aim simply to fine as many people as possible, but to reduce the number of accidents.

In a six-month trial of intensive controls on route 55 between Enköping and Uppsala, police have succeeded in reducing the risk of accidents by 10-20 percent.

“We are very satisfied with our achievement. Many drivers have shown their appreciation of our presence on the road,” said Åke Lövh, head of the traffic police division in Uppsala.

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