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The problem with drunk drivers on Polish roads is not going away. “We all need to get involved to eliminate this pathology”

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According to data from the police and the Central Statistical Office, in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian, Lower Silesian and Świętokrzyskie voivodeships, statistically, in 2023 it was most common to encounter a drunk driver on the road. It is still a plague in Poland. The solution was to be the confiscation of cars, but the new regulations will be improved.

A desperate escape, because the driver also had alcohol flowing in his veins. Two and a half per mille. He probably drove like that before. – Drivers who manage to drive on double throttle seem to become more brazen and repeat this behavior – comments Małgorzata Rawsla-Zajdel, a transport psychologist. Such a driver could most often be found on the roads in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, Lower Silesia and Świętokrzyskie. As many as 35 per ten thousand inhabitants. The other pole is Małopolska and Podkarpacie – twice as much there. Where there are inglorious records, the police boast of effectiveness and extensive controls.

– The number of these drivers also proves the scale of this problem and how we all simply need to get involved in order to eliminate this pathology from our roads – says Deputy Commissioner Przemysław Ratajczyk from the Provincial Police Headquarters in Wrocław.

Consequences are accidents. And although in 2023 there were eight percentage points less than in 2022, drivers under the influence killed as many as 212 people. The punishment for drunk drivers was to be the confiscation of cars. It turned out to be average.

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SEE ALSO: The teenagers told the drunk driver that his fuel cap was open and took the keys out of the ignition

– Warnings that it would be tougher and that vehicles would be taken away did not work in any way. There are still drivers who get behind the wheel with a level of over 1.5 per mille in their exhaled air, says Chief Inspector Tomasz Bratek from the Provincial Police Headquarters in Katowice. – In Silesia, we arrest on average about 30 drunk drivers every day – he adds.

Cars will not be confiscated from the machine. “This is not a wink at drunk drivers.”

Since mid-March, almost 800 confiscated cars have been placed in police parking lots. These regulations are now about to change. – This is not a wink at drunk drivers, withdrawing from confiscation, or raising a white flag. This is a step towards transparency and honesty – announces Marek Konkolewski, an expert in road traffic safety. The most important changes include moving away from automatic confiscation of cars. This will be decided by the court, which may also award compensation of up to PLN 100,000 in return. After consultations and the parliament's decision, changes are possible this year.

SEE ALSO: He got behind the wheel despite a court ban. He had over three per mille

A drunk 27-year-old driver hit a family with a 4-year-old child. Miraculously, it didn't end in tragedyJan Błaszkowski/Fakty TVN

– The center of gravity in terms of decision-making has been shifted and the courts have been burdened with it. I believe in the wisdom of the courts that they will not withdraw from this consequence – comments Mariusz Sztal, an expert in road traffic safety, on the announced changes. – In Western European countries, there are cases of confiscation of cars, but never obligatory. It is always a court decision, which is consistent with human rights in general. You can't immediately “axe” a person, just like in Rome, the hand that was stealing was cut off for stealing a loaf of bread – says Stefan Rzońca, a driving instructor.

However, there are many voices that old habits will return

– The purpose of these regulations was to create the so-called chilling effect. Some drivers may feel too confident again and try to get behind the wheel, even after drinking alcohol, notes Mikołaj Krupiński from the Motor Transport Institute. However, the police warn that their sieve is getting thicker. – Every road check begins with the sobriety of the driver – reminds Commissioner Antoni Rzeczkowski from the Police Headquarters.

Drunk driving is also punishable by up to two years in prison. And this is not going to change.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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