Speeding to Death
30 May, 2013
Speeding to Death
Even though road rules do exist in most countries, they seem to fly out of the window. There are ongoing efforts to enforce these laws effectively and efficiently in every country. Because Georgia seems to be exceeding other European countries by the number of annual road deaths due to traffic accidents; it is no exception.
Based upon statistics from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, the number of road accidents in 2012 was 5,359 which is a 19 percent
increase from the number in 2011. The number of those killed also increased by 15 percent in a year.
According to statistics by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, 37 percent of all automobile accidents involved pedestrians. Though most road accidents are typically the fault of a reckless driver; pedestrians in Georgia are involved in illegal road-crossing.
Georgia’s criminal code states that any pedestrian, driver or participant in traffic “that through negligence has caused a less serious or serious damage to health, shall be punishable by fine or by restriction of freedom for up to three years in length or by imprisonment for the term not exceeding two years”.
It should go without saying that there are certain laws that permit and restrict pedestrians crossing the road; however, 31 percent are reported to jaywalk in Georgia. Though there seems to be an abundance of underpasses in Tbilisi, 23 percent of pedestrians don’t use it because they are too far, whilst 47 percent avoid it because they are generally not clean.
91 percent of people who have illegally crossed the road were never fined. Interestingly enough, 80 percent said that they would use underpasses if they were to be fined 15-20 Lari. Others indicated that they would be more likely to make the change if underpasses were cleaner and better lit.
Even the US Department of State states that “pedestrians enjoy no right-of-way and need to be extremely careful when crossing streets” in their international travel information for Georgia.
Due to the UN Second Road Safety Week, the Partnership for Road Safety in Georgia organized a walk in Batumi, Adjara to raise awareness of pedestrians’ rights. By joining the global campaign, Georgia aims to fulfill its goal: making roads safe for all.
But hazardous road accidents don’t stop at just pedestrians. 45.2 percent of road deaths involve drivers and passengers.
According to the Global status report on road safety 2013 published by the World Health Organization, 39 percent of road traffic deaths in Georgia involve alcohol consumption. Though not sobering up before getting behind the wheel is a problem, it doesn’t seem to be the main cause of accidents. ‘Speeding’ topped the list as the number 1 cause of fatal road accidents in 2012, followed by ‘right of way and maneuverability violations’ and ‘unidentified’.
The European Road Safety Observatory published that “high speed reduces the possibility to respond in time when necessary. People need time to process information, to decide whether or not to react and, finally to execute a reaction.”
Whether it’s speeding or drunk driving, the first step is always acknowledging the problem. Responding to it should be a combined effort of both officials and drivers themselves. 

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