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Within the National Road Traffic Safety Programme, the three-week project PEĆ EC (the pedestrian) started today. Between 9 and 31 January, the Police and Directorate of the Republic of Slovenia for Roads will carry out numerous activities for greater passenger safety.

At today's press conference, the representatives of the General Police Directorate and the Slovenian Road Safety Council of the Directorate of the Republic of Slovenia for Roads presented the situation as regards passenger safety as well as the activities and measures taken at the local level to increase passenger safety.

Alojz Habič from the Traffic Police Division of the Uniformed Police Directorate of the General Police Directorate said that pedestrians represent one of the most vulnerable categories of road users, beibg second only to drivers of passenger vehicles as victims of road traffic accidents. They are most often involved in road traffic accidents in autumn and winter, when the weather is unfavourable and days are short.

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In addition, he presented interim statistical data, as follows: in 2008, 826 pedestrians (in 2007: 1,017) were involved in road traffic accidents. Out of that number, 38 were killed (in 2007: 33), 135 (196) were badly injured, while 606 (727) were lightly injured and 49 (61) sustained no injuries. 17.8 % of all fatalities in Slovenia were thus pedestrians (in 2007: 11.3 %).

The most dangerous months for pedestrians are autumn, winter and early spring months. In February 2008 there was 9 (in 2007: 6) pedestrian victims of road traffic accidents, in October the number was 6 (3) and in December 7 (2).

Pedestrians are often victims of accidents due to inadequate actions of drivers of motor vehicles. Nevertheless, accidents also happen due to mistakes or inadequate actions of pedestrians.

Senior citizens are very often victims of road traffic accidents on account of their own mistakes or violations of regulations. Most accidents caused by the elderly through their mistakes are caused by impaired psycho physical abilities (the narrowing of the visual field, short-term memory problems, weakened ability to estimate the speed and distance of a vehicle), inadequate colour of clothing, non-use of reflectors and walking under the influence of alcohol. The level of threat to the elderly posed by road traffic is indicated by the fact that in the last three months of 2008 there were 15 pedestrian victims of road traffic accidents, out of which 13 were older that 54. In 2008, persons older that 54 represented 65.8% (in 2007: 63.6%) of all pedestrians killed in road traffic accidents. The number was 25 (21).

The majority of road traffic accidents involving pedestrians happen on business days between 17 and 24 hours. Saturdays and Sundays are considered fairly safe. It is interesting to see the weather conditions where accidents involving pedestrians happen. Most accidents by far happen in clear weather. Considerably fewer accidents happen in unfavourable weather conditions (fog, rain, snow) and they also have milder consequences.

Most road traffic accidents with the severest consequences happen on roads with no pavement, while pedestrians are quite often run over on zebra crossings.

A fair number of killed pedestrian are under the influence of alcohol. Out of 38 (in 2007: 33) pedestrians killed, 10 (8) were under the influence of alcohol, with average alcohol level 2.04 (2.31) g per kg bodyweight.

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Police activities: during the action the police will carry out numerous preventive and repressive activities on the whole Slovenian territory, with the main focus on areas where pedestrian problems are the most prominent.

Preventive activities are mostly focused on awareness rising among the pedestrians to the effect that they should take care of their own safety in road traffic by wearing light coloured clothes and reflectors. Repressive activities are directed on action against speeding in areas with large numbers of pedestrians.

Police officers will perform additional stricter controls to establish violations by motor vehicle drivers such as not giving the right of way to pedestrians on pedestrian crossings and exceeding the speed limits, and violations by pedestrians such as irregular walking and irregular crossing of the road.

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Advice by the police:

Pedestrians:

  • make yourselves visible on the road - wear light coloured clothes and objects that ensure visibility (reflectors),
  • observe road traffic regulations,
  • cross the road only on marked pedestrian crossings and walk on pavements; in the absence of the latter, walk on the left side of the road,
  • try to predict the actions of other road users.

Drivers:

  • do not forget that there are also pedestrians on the roads, so give them the right of way,
  • adapt your speed to the conditions on the road and strictly observe speed limits,
  • drive extra carefully in areas where there are large numbers of pedestrians (in front of schools, in residential areas),
  • when outside residential areas, drive on the middle of the driving lane in order to minimise the possibility of hitting a pedestrian walking along the carriageway.