Drunk driving rises but speed is falling

Greek drivers may be slowing down and obeying more red light traffic signals but many are also getting behind the wheel after hitting the bottle, according to data released yesterday. A survey conducted by the Public Order Ministry showed that 21,052 drivers were found to be under the influence of alcohol in the first half of the year, out of 660,240 tested. The figure translates into about 3.2 percent of drivers who submitted to breathalyzer tests and were found to be above the legal limit. That is a slight rise compared to the first six months of 2004. But the survey did present some encouraging signs for the country’s notoriously dangerous roads. Violations due to excessive speed dropped 4.6 percent to 175,056 offenses in the first half of 2005, compared to last year. Red light offenses dropped by just under a third. The number of people killed on the country’s roads remains high, with 713 fatalities from car accidents so far this year. The total figure for the whole of 2004 was 1,547. Trucks continue to pose a menace on Greek roads. In the first five months of the year, truck drivers committed 96,011 offenses, most of them speed-related.

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