Greek drivers go on display in Piraeus

Even in 1927, when donkeys still outnumbered cars on Greek roads, police reports of the time recorded the first traffic accidents, heralding the end of an era. Since then, Greek road conditions have changed but the lack of traffic education continues to have tragic consequences. The evidence is plain to see in the rare photographs on display at the first Traffic Police exhibition at the Piraeus Municipal Theater. The exhibition, which runs till October 29 and is open to the public from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 6.00-8 p.m., is directed mainly at schoolchildren, about 450 of whom visit every day. Tomorrow there will be a lecture for primary and secondary school teachers. The road safety department of Piraeus and its director, Giorgos Pantazopoulos, initiated the project, which is intended to raise public awareness of road safety and behavior. We have learnt from experience that many serious road accidents are due to ignorance of road sense, explains Pantazopoulos. If someone had spoken to those drivers, things might have been different. That’s why we are starting out with children and trying to help them understand how they should behave, as pedestrians now and as drivers later on. The pupils who visit the exhibition watch a special film according to their age, have a discussion with a traffic police officer, and then look at the displays of photographs dating back to 1927. The exhibition makes a big impression on children, Pantazopoulos says. I remember a junior high school pupil who spent a long time looking at a particular photograph. I asked him why he was interested in it and I was struck by his reply: ‘I can see that the same accidents used to happen then as now. The cars and the people might be different but the causes are the same, so many years later.’ Most of the operations are conducted at night when other types of aircraft in transit to the theater of operations land at the airfield of the American base for refueling.

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