Fatal traffic accidents in Greece, which has the worst road safety record in the European Union, dropped by over 25 percent in the first four months of this year compared to the same period for 2001, mainly due to increased police vigilance, according to official figures released yesterday. Statistics made public by the Public Order Ministry show a 27-percent nationwide decline in road fatalities between January and April 2002 – 174 fewer deaths than in the first four months of 2001. Serious accidents were reduced by 16 percent and accidents resulting in slight injuries dropped 19.3 percent. At the same time, traffic police stepped up their campaign for safer driving, with a 28.5-percent increase in checks for drink-driving. In a determined clampdown on offenders, officers handed out 32.4 percent more fines for speeding violations. There was a 52-percent increase – compared to the first third of 2001 – in fines for failure to use safety belts, and a 54-percent rise in fines for motorcyclists driving without crash helmets. The weapons, now reduced to 40 tons of scrap metal, will be sent to Britain and melted down.