An unsolved problem

Less than a year has gone by since a bus collision on a notoriously dangerous stretch of road on the Maliakos Gulf, north of Athens, killed seven teenage students. Government officials had rushed to the scene of the accident last September, high-level talks were conducted on the matter, and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis announced the introduction of strict new measures, which included the creation of a special traffic police unit to patrol the national road network as well as the establishment of a radar and camera surveillance system to crack down on road safety violations. The good intentions however, were short-lived. Two weeks ago, there were three fatalities at the same location and just last Saturday nine more people more killed at Maliakos, prompting another series of explanations and excuses from government officials. None of the regeneration projects planned for the area have essentially got under way yet, as Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias indirectly conceded with his recent, rather unconvincing, pledge that all works will be finished by October 2007. The only step that has been taken is the setting up of a few surveillance cameras across the road network… However, the cameras are not sufficient to put off prospective road safety offenders… The only measure that would have the required effect would be the beefed-up presence of traffic police on the road, a step that, for some reason, has still not been taken…

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