The number of fatalities reached a historic low last year

The number of fatalities reached a historic low last year

VIENNA. Nationwide, 400 people died – however, a significant increase in Upper Austria.

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According to the Ministry of the Interior, in 2018 400 people died fatally on Austrian roads. This is 14 people or 3.4 percent less than in 2017. So the lowest number since records for the first time were recorded in 1950.

In Oberösterreich, on the other hand, the number of fatalities rose from 82 to 96, more than in the other countries where the increase was seen: Tirol, Lower Austria and Vorarlberg. The cause was the above-average increase in the number of fatal motorcyclists. The main reason, according to ÖAMTC: the nice weather and the long season.

The new national low means that in 2018 less than one-seventh of the death toll of 1972 would be complained, the so-called "blackest year" of accident statistics with 2,948 deaths. And that while at that time there were only 2.5 million registered vehicles on our roads, whereas today it is 6.9 million.

"The decline is pleasant for me as Minister of the Interior, but every death toll is too much," said Herbert Kickl (FPÖ). Every second euro invested by Asfinag results from road safety – 500 million euros per year.

Negligence and distraction

The main cause of fatal traffic accidents is 29% carelessness or distraction. "Here, electronic driver assistance systems such as emergency braking systems, warning systems for leaving lanes, approach controllers or fatigue alarms can do a lot," says ÖAMTC traffic engineer David Nosé. The other main causes of fatal traffic accidents are unadjusted speed (24.4 percent) and priority violations (16.6 percent), while alcohol at the wheel was responsible for nearly six percent of fatal crashes.

But the traffic psychologist Peter Jonas of Linz has serious doubts about that. His reasoning: "In three out of four fatal accidents, one of the deaths is the driver, and no alcohol is measured with this, so that possible alcoholization is not included in the statistics." On the other hand, if such measurements were taken, "if you were to get 25 percent of the fatal traffic accidents," Jonas points out.

The least fatalities occur on highways, mostly on winding country roads. The majority of the deadly drivers are the under-30s and the over-75s. The largest decrease in fatalities occurred in the previous year in Salzburg (from 44 to 26), followed by Burgenland, Styria and Vienna.

  • Three children up to 14 years were killed on Austrian roads last year, all as car occupants. A significant decrease compared to 2017 with eight and 2016 with seven children. Fortunately, school deaths were not registered at all in 2018.
  • Eleven people were killed in 2018 railway junctions, ten were in the year before. Seven pedestrians were killed in protective paths, in 2017 there were eleven. There were three deaths in road tunnels in the previous year, one less than in 2017. One fatal accident was caused by an accident with a ghost driver.
  • 82 fatalities in traffic were non-Austrian citizens in the previous year, which corresponds to a share of just over 20 percent. Every fifth fatal accident, 79 (equal to 20.5 percent), was caused by foreigners. (Kri)

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