New traffic code eyes better driving culture


A new traffic code being drafted seeks to tighten up the rules, with the aim of cultivating a more responsible driving culture in the country, further curbing road fatalities and cutting the financial cost of traffic accidents.

One of the key measures being considered is swapping alcohol limits for a zero-tolerance policy toward driving under the influence.

Advocates point to data from the European Transport Safety Council showing that 25 percent of the European Union’s 25,000 annual road fatalities are linked to drunk driving.

Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) data show that traffic accidents in Greece cost 3.5 percent of gross domestic product a year, or around 5 billion euros, resulting from deaths and injuries, as well as material damage.

According to the data, Greece had the second-most impressive reduction in road fatalities in the EU in 2010-18 at 45.2 percent, outdone only by Norway, which slashed road deaths by 48.6 percent in the same period.

Experts, however, stress that the decline coincided with the economic crisis, reaching a decade-low of 700 in 2018.

“The crisis restricted the use of vehicles, therefore also reducing the chances of an accident. In the past few months, though, we have seen traffic increase again, which means that we cannot rule out an increase in accidents,” says the head of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, Panagiotis Papantoniou.