Traffic accidents down in January, but Greece still tops EU in deaths

Traffic accidents in the month of January decreased by 10.2 percent compared to the same period last year, data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) showed on Friday, but the number of people that died on the streets of the country rose by 13.4 percent, keeping Greece at the top of road death rankings in the European Union.

In the 867 traffic accidents reported in January, 76 people died (up 13.4 percent from 2011), 78 were seriously injured (down by 31.6 percent y/y) and 985 suffered minor injuries (down by 10.6 percent y/y).

In another disturbing revelation, a road safety conference organized by the municipality and an insurance company in Hania, Crete, on Friday morning heard that road accidents are estimated to cost cash-strapped Greece an average of 14 billion euros a year.

The conference heard that in the past 50 years, road accidents have accounted for a total of 120,000 deaths, with the average in 2010 showing 116 deaths per million of the population, in stark contrast to Sweden, where the ratio in the same year was 28 death per million of the population.

Professional race car driver Tasos Markouizos, who races under the nickname Iaveris and who attended the conference as a special guest speaker, described road deaths in Greece as «genocide,» adding that other than 120,000 deaths, in the past 50 years 350,000 people have suffered some form of disability due to road accidents.

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