Polish roads - safe or dangerous? - this question was answered by experts from the discussion panel that took place during the XXXI Economic Forum in Karpacz. The following: Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, Rafał Weber, Chief Road Transport Inspector (ITD) Alvin Gajadhur, Secretary of the National Road Safety Council, Konrad Romik and Director of the Motor Transport Institute prof. Marcin Ślęzak.
Modern road infrastructure, legislative changes, inspection activities of services, including the Road Transport Inspection - these are the factors that improve safety on the Polish roads. Experts participating in the discussion panel assessed that the interdisciplinary activities undertaken bring results.
- Tighter regulations and higher penalties bring about the change in the behaviour of drivers, reduction in the speed and calming down the traffic. We have been observing it since the beginning of the year, i.e. the moment when, after many years, the tariff figures were changed and the amount of fines increased. The number of infringements registered by the CANARD system has decreased significantly. It is also another signal for us that it is worth expanding the speed camera system - and we are doing it. The system is being expanded and modernized. It is also a response to social expectations - emphasized ITD Head Alvin Gajadhur.
It was also noted that one of the important elements shaping road safety is education.
- Educational and information projects complement the control activities and we run them in parallel. We try to cover a growing group of recipients with educational and information projects. We teach road safety rules to the youngest, we remind professional drivers about the regulations and good practices in road transport, and recently we also talk to seniors about road safety - unfortunately, they represent ever more growing group of road fatalities - said Alvin Gajadhur.
During the discussion, the participants talked about the ongoing road investments, engineering solutions, planned legislative changes, social costs of road accidents - which today, thanks to the improvement of safety, are much lower and about further action plans to be taken for the road safety.
- Traffic safety on the Polish roads is systematically improving, and the number of accidents and their victims is decreasing and, what is is worth emphasizing, in 2021 it reached the lowest level in the history of accident data collection (i.e. since 1975) - said Prof. Marcin Ślęzak, director of the Motor Transport Institute.
In recent years, the improvement of safety on the polish roads has gained a higher rank and is one of the priorities of the government (it was mentioned for the first time in the expose of the Prime Minister of the Polish government - Mateusz Morawiecki). In mid-2021 and at the beginning of 2022, significant changes were made to the Road Traffic Law (PoRD) and the Code of Offenses.
- New vehicle categories have been introduced: electric scooter (e-scooter), Personal Transport Device (UTO) and Traffic Assistance Device. Pedestrians were given priority not only at the pedestrian crossing, but also when entering it. The speed limit in built-up areas was harmonized. During the night hours, the speed limit has been reduced from 60 km/h to 50 km/h. Pedestrians were forbidden to use cell phones while crossing the road. In addition, regulations on maintaining a minimum distance from the vehicle in front were introduced on expressways and motorways - research carried out by MTI (commissioned by the KR BRD Secretariat) in 2014-2015 showed that 17% of drivers did not keep a safe distance on motorways. The amount of penalties for non-compliance with the Road Safety Regulations has also been significantly increased. It is worth mentioning that further changes are waiting in the Parliament (confiscating the cars of drunk perpetrators of accidents and sealing the system of technical tests of vehicles) - enumerated prof. Marcin Ślęzak.
Among the changes that will come into force on September 17, two are worth highlighting: the elimination of the margin of speeding, for which the driver is not penalized. From September 17, penalty points will be awarded for exceeding the speed limit even below
10 km/h. It is also worth paying attention to the double punishment of road recidivists.
- It should be remembered that any legislative or technical activities should be reinforced with educational and supervisory activities - added prof. Ślęzak.
Director of the Motor Transport Institute - prof. Marcin Ślęzak - during the XXXI Economic Forum in Karpacz, participated also in two other substantive sessions:
- Automotive industry energy transformation - global trends and national perspectives
- The future of the automotive industry - which cars will take over the market?