NEWS

Ex-race car driver says road accidents in Greece tantamount to ‘genocide’

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A veteran Greek race car driver and road safety activist has likened the number of traffic deaths in the country over the past 50 years to “genocide” and calls on the new government to start educating motorists on proper driving behavior when they're still children.

In an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, retired rally champion Tasos Markouizos said that an estimated 120,000 people have died on Greece's roads in the past 50 years, 350,000 have been disabled by traffic accidents and more than 2 million have been injured. Road accidents “are wiping out the Greek race,” he said.

Markouizos – who is the founder of the road safety organization Iaveris, named after the 19th century “consummate legalist” in Victor Hugo's “Les Miserables,” Javert – urged the new government to tackle the issue by introducing road safety education programs for children, starting in elementary school.

“Kids need to be taught how to drive correctly. Greece's roads are not the best and they need to learn how to drive in these conditions,” he said. “Every day we mourn three or four deaths and as many people are left disabled. How much bigger does the problem need to become before the authorities take it seriously?”

He said that Greeks' lack of road education is apparent at almost every traffic light.

“Instead of stopping when the light turns orange, most Greeks step on the gas,” he said. “Consistency, patience and caution are the traits that need to define the behavior of every motorist.”