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Swedish road safety 'best in the world': official

TT/The Local · 3 Jan 2011, 11:59

Published: 03 Jan 2011 11:59 GMT+01:00

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Only 270 people lost their lives on Sweden's roads last year meaning that Sweden is likely to have the lowest number of traffic fatalities per capita in the world.

Gunnar Malm, general director of The Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) has described the development as fantastic

"The development is totally unique. Incredible! You would need to go back centuries to find a time with fewer road deaths," he told the TT news agency.

"Sweden is still the best in the world when it comes to road safety."

Malm maintains that the reduced numer of deaths is not down to a single policy, but instead the result of several steps that have been taken in recent years.

Partly, it is due to motorists reducing their speed and also due to roads being built more safely including the introduction of crash barriers.

Sweden's nfrastructure minister Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd welcomed the lower traffic fatality figures.

"We're on our way to reaching the long-term goal of zero road fatalities, which was regarded as utopian when it was launched," she said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the number of fatalities in rail traffic has increased, reaching the highest figure in ten years.

Story continues below…

Last year 109 people died in rail accidents. However, only one of those killed was a rail passenger. Thirteen people died at level crossings and there was also an increase in the number of suicides.

Preliminary figures show that 17 people were killed in road accidents over December 2010, one of the lowest figures on record for that month.

By comparison, there were 148 traffic fatalities in December 1970.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:03 January 3, 2011 by RobinHood
"We're on our way to reaching the long-term goal of zero road fatalities, which was regarded as utopian when it was launched,"

If Sweden's transport minister truly believes a goal of zero road fatalities is achievable, she is unfit for office.. While human beings travel from one place to another, by any means, they will find ways to kill and injure themselves.

What a stupid target to set oneself. It can only be achieved by abstaining from travel altogether. Is this really what we want from a transport minister?
13:28 January 3, 2011 by flintis
Swedens transport minister does not have a clue, & this is a survey of how many deaths not accidents. She may come nearer her goal if she BANS the use of mobile telefons whilst driving, but she's tooooo stupid to understand all the facts.
15:00 January 3, 2011 by farnoxo
Three areas for future improvment

One - teach Stockholm drivers to be polite and courteous - in three years I have only seen two people saying "thanks" for being let into a lane.

Two -ban Porsche Cayennes, as there seems to be a very strong statistical correlation between owing one and driving like a complete wally.

Three - ban mobile phones - using one is the same as being 4 times over the legal alcohol limit.
15:09 January 3, 2011 by Eagle63
What also helps a great deal is the relatively large percentage of Saabs and Volvos on Swedish roads, instead of those tiny little dangerous econo-cars like you see a lot in many other countries.
15:56 January 3, 2011 by saar
Calling the infrastructure minister stupid and clueless shows how smart the critics are.
16:16 January 3, 2011 by GLO
Sweden has the best roads anywhere.... Thats all...
16:32 January 3, 2011 by Tennessee Thunder
LMAO....What a bunch of dorks.
17:54 January 3, 2011 by steve_38
Swedish roads are actually very poor and the maintenance of them is terrible compared to the UK.

The most dangerous part of driving is when they are doing amy maintenance or changes to the road. Quite often roadworks etc are death traps with poor signage and I can remember driving to Stockhol a couple fo years ago at night in the rain and they had resurfaced the road and had not painted any white lines etc so you could not see anything.

But the lack of maintenance is a disgrace. On the E20 large distances where the wire lane protection has been hit by cars and is not replaced or repaired(the next car that hits it will go through onto the opposite lane.

Not many deaths on Swedish roads due to

a, You actually cannot drive fast ( roads too poor)

b, Hardly any traffic anywhere, so the odds of hitting another car are remote.

c, Lots of space either side of the road for cars to run off. In the UK large amount of fatalitiesa re due to cars hitting trees next to road.

Another example of a politician abusing the stats.

Similar BS in the UK as cars get safer more pedestrians are getting killed and or seriously injured in built up areas, whats the stats here.

What has not been mentioned is that you can walk away from a lot of accidents in cars now that you could not 10 years ago. Its more to do with this than anything the politicians have done.
18:26 January 3, 2011 by voiceofreason
This is a highly commendable achievement, every one (drivers, police, vagverket, traffic lights, speed camera etc) deserves some praise for this.

However, even if Robots were to be driving us, we cannot eliminate traffics accidents. All we can do is keep trying.
18:55 January 3, 2011 by DaveN
I would think that most of it is down to much better cars.
19:08 January 3, 2011 by Great Scott
Firstly where do these statistics come from? What is the source?

Secondly it only mentions deaths per capita, no info on how many cars per capita or how many cars per mileage of road or mileage of road per capita or miles of high speed motorway per capita.

The use of the word "LIKELY" is so misleading. "Sweden's roads last year meaning that Sweden is likely to have the lowest number of traffic fatalities per capita in the world".

"Sweden is still the best in the world when it comes to road safety". Yet another misleading and unproven statement.

This report is absolute bull, if Mr. Malm thinks these figures are fantastic, then I think he should resign for leading the Swedish population into believing anything.

Before opening his mouth he needs to understand how to calculate such figures.

The latest reports I have found anywhere are these, but I am sure someone can find newer.


20:06 January 3, 2011 by Skevus
It seems it's rather hard to get a new kidmey in sweden.....
20:40 January 3, 2011 by Kevin Harris
Not a word of thanks to the hundreds of companies, and thousands of vehicle engineers, who have laboured for years to make modern cars very hard to crash, and as safe as they can be if they do crash. That is why the statistic is going down.

You would have thought the general director of The Swedish Transport Administration, and the infrastructure minister would have known about that. Volvo and Saab, get onto them and explain please. These guys have no idea what you are doing.
22:22 January 3, 2011 by samwise
did people drive as much?
00:26 January 4, 2011 by hayabusa13
Like most civilized countries the road toll is dropping due largely to safer cars and roads and a "stay indoors at home" lifestyle. But politians are quick to claim full credit. Much of the improved car safety is due to marketing policy.

However lets not forget for every road death in Sweden, as in other developed countries there are 4 or 5 suicides for every road death. Why don't politicians allocate more effort and resorces to improving mental health and lifestyle. Maybe our modern lifestyle increases depression. Why don't they fine people for being sad or crazy as they do for driving slightly over the speed limit.
04:38 January 4, 2011 by tapmot
Be nice to your minister, she has a job to protect. Some of our roads here in the U.S. are being returned back to gravel for lack of funds to repair them. The Gas tax was taken the the Federal Govn. and given to some social programs for people that don't drive, and to support trains that people don't use because the trains don't go where the traveler wishes to go. Our interstate system is good.
05:43 January 4, 2011 by bow290
keeping it short and sweet....

1, indicate before turning or changing lanes! (I cannot believe how many drivers slack off on this here in Sweden)

2, yes! keep off the mobile phones while on the road. this should be a law especially in a country with such poor driving conditions during winter. In Australia u must have keys out of the ignition if u r spotted by police talking on the phone, being pulled ova to the side is not enough!

3, change the licensing conditions so that new/young drivers have restrictions. i.e. speed limits lowered, zero alcohol etc...

4,MORE POLICE ON THE ROADS ENFORCING THESE AND THE CURRENT LAWS, not just in the city central but the suburbs too.

07:16 January 4, 2011 by krattan
I know all is not hunky dory but Swedish roads are not bad. I've also lived in Norway and they are nowhere near in quality although one would think that they would have access to more money.

I'm not very impressed by what I've seen in Britain either (mostly in the vicinities of London) where it seemed very tight and crowded. But that is probably to expect since the density of population is much higher. Better to compare the roads with a country with a similar density to Sweden.

For reference:

Britain 254.7 people/km2

Sweden 20.6 people/km2
07:20 January 4, 2011 by flintis
@saar:- only stating the facts, she still insists there is no conclusive evidence that using a mobile phone whilst driving causes the driver to loose concentration, although several other "world" powers have concluded it is correct.

So she's stupid or ignorant, then again she's a women so she's probably one of the worst offenders & too stubborn to admit the facts.
10:55 January 4, 2011 by jwlundgren
They forgot to mention that their goal is also not to allow any more drivers in Sweden, therefore as the current driving population dies or stops driving, the statistics will go even lower. There is a movement to ban insulin dependent diabetics from getting a license, yet a diabetic in control is healthier than the average person and does not drink. It is virtually impossible to get a license in Sweden without years of study and lots of money. Until they ban foreign lorry drivers, who are the worst of all, this goal will not be met. Cellphones are also a major problem not only for motorists but bicycles. How on earth can you ride a bicycle and talk on the phone???

that being said, Swedish drink driving laws are very strict, but only part of the issue.
18:20 January 4, 2011 by americanska
when you treat poeple like sheep and use taxes to herd them away from cars and onto trains these stats are not very surprising.

and yes the roads in Sweden are pretty nice especially for the level of traffic they have. in England you have 70 mph speed limits on roads with no shoulder and a curb....like that's not an accident waiting to happen...also the 60mph roadways that are 10 feet wide with no shoulder and hedges right up to the side of the road.
07:35 January 5, 2011 by flintis
@amerikanska:- In England they have cars to fit the roads & obviously drivers who can navigate these tight spaces, unlike the US with 'B'roads wider than the Mississippi & gas guzzling vehicles wider than any European road.

When you consider the amount of traffic on the roads in the UK & EU statistics, the Swedish claim of having the best road safety is total b'locks
10:40 January 5, 2011 by Rick Methven

The Swedish authority is not saying that Sweden has the best road safety that comes from The Local's headline.

What the authorities are saying is that Sweden PROBABLY has the lowest fatality rate PER CAPITA.

270 deaths from a population of 9.3million - 2.9 deaths per 100,000 people according to WHO the deadliest place to drive is Eritrea with a rate of 48 per 100,000 of population which makes it over 16 times more likely that you would die in a traffic accident in Eritrea than Sweden.
14:21 January 5, 2011 by flintis
@Rick M:- No it was in some local papers as well.

Eritrea may be the most deadliest place to drive because of a) anti tank rockets

b) road pirates

c) the horses bolting and throwing the passegers off the cart.

d) land mines

e) thirst (when the horse has bolted & left passengers in desert)

Gaurantee'd to have less split-arses driving around talking on their mobile phones & ignoring all traffic signals in Eritrea.
18:39 January 5, 2011 by americanska

I see Dodge Ram's and Chrysler 300s on the road in the UK...granted there are smaller cars on the roads too. However, having car that is a few inches narrower than the american counterpart may make up for the fact that the lanes are a little narrowing....but not for the fact that roads have no shoulder...and not even a ditch to bail out in.
19:00 January 5, 2011 by Rick Methven

"see Dodge Ram's and Chrysler 300s on the road in the UK...granted there are smaller cars on the roads too. However, having car that is a few inches narrower than the american counterpart may make up for the fact that the lanes are a little narrowing...but not for the fact that roads have no shoulder...and not even a ditch to bail out in. "

You been watching American Top Gear with its copycat pretend to be British themes ?

Gas guzzling, badly constructed American 4X4's are rare in the UK, we have our own its called the Range Rover: LOL

Country roads in the UK are fine, wide enough for Tractors and combine harvesters seriously narrow roads such as in my home region of Wales, have them marked with a sign "6' 6" except for Access" most of them have a ditch for idiot Americans in their Dodges to get stuck in to. That helps the local economy for the local farmers to make a bit on the side charging a $100 to pull idiot Americans who can only drive on wide straight roads, out of British ditches.

There is a saying in England

" The winding English drunkard, made the winding English road" and he normally can drive on it safely - unless he is drunk
20:01 January 5, 2011 by zeulf
Poor Rick He thinks that only Amis drive into Ditchs

We make money from all idiots who drive into ditches , did one of them pinch You one time and now you can say all are pinchers ?
20:24 January 5, 2011 by Rick Methven

Another dumb yank that can never believe that the world does not end at the borders of the US of A

Who said anything about Amis?
09:43 January 6, 2011 by Micaela
Congratulations. Very impressive. I am in awe of your achievement and the fact that you are aiming for zero fatalities. I certainly hope it works as my daughter and son-in-law live in Sweden.
20:06 January 6, 2011 by zeulf
General Fools make Generalized statements
07:22 January 7, 2011 by flintis
@rick M:- The Yanks are good at driving in straight lines, funny how the average UK heavy goods driver can navigate these small lanes we have in Gods country.

@ amerikanska:- No Shoulder Or Ditch?? That's why there are Hedges & walls to keep you on the road, & stop the gas guzzling american ve'hic'les spilling their 100 gallons of fuel into the beautiful Britsih countryside.

@zeulf:- you seem to know yourself!
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