6. Transport Accidents

Transport safety in the Czech Republic represents a substantive issue since notably on roads the absolute number of accidents and their impacts is high and, unfortunately, the development in this field is unfavourable as well.

In the railway transport neither the growth of accidents nor their consequences are serious. A rather dangerous trend is the growth of accidents on safeguarded railway crossings, the accidents being mostly caused by motor vehicle drivers. In order to ensure the railway traffic safety the attention is being focused on the modernisation of the block equipment, including the introduction of new block systems. Last but not least there is an effort to minimise the impact of the human factor on the railway traffic management.

The worst situation in the field of the traffic safety is in the road transport. The fact that the road traffic accidents explicitly represent the most frequent cause of death of persons younger than 40 years is the most alarming statement. Accordingly, the road traffic safety improvement has become one of the main transport policy priorities.

In 2001, as compared with 2000, the number of accidents entailing injury or fatality (so called personal accidents) increased by 581, i.e. by 2.3%, and by 1 234, i.e. by 4.6% as regards small injuries.

It is pleasing to observe a downtrend in the number of killed persons, namely by 117, i.e. by 8.8%, and in the number of persons seriously injured by 32, i.e. by 0.6%.

The majority of accidents was caused by motor vehicle drivers due to incorrect manner of driving (over 63%), inappropriate driving speed (17.5%), failure to give right of way to other traffic (almost 17% - third cause in terms of frequency), and 2.4% of accidents fall under the category of incorrect overtaking.

Traffic participants under the influence of alcohol have caused 9 191 accidents during which 101 people were killed and 4 734 injured. As compared with 2000 the number of such accidents is higher by 3.4%, the number of killed is lower by 8 persons (i.e. by 7.3%) and the number of injured is higher by 40 persons (i.e. by 0.8%). In 2001, out of the total number of accidents 5.2% of accidents were due to the influence of alcohol, but this figure has arisen to more than 8% as regards the number of killed persons.

Despite a modest improvement in past years the attention continues to be given to accident prevention and the improvement of the safety equipment of vehicles. Car manufacturers are investing not inconsiderable funds into the research and development in the field of car safety.

We continue to consider the air transport as one of the most safe transport mode even if the aviation disasters are usually catastrophic. Commercial aviation operated by Czech air carriers shows a high degree of safety when one considers that the last registered accident was a drop in an air-pocket of an commercial aeroplane due a turbulence during which three passengers were injured. As compared with this fact there is a relatively high number of accidents of small aeroplanes, namely even with tragic consequences.

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