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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Young people drive more carefully. “For them, serious fines are the most painful.”

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Hard data leave no doubt – young drivers are afraid of high fines. After they increased significantly, the number of serious accidents caused by drivers aged 18-24 dropped by almost half. Experts also have further suggestions on how to make young people take fewer risks on the roads.

Every day, several to a dozen people die in accidents on Polish roads. In a collision of several cars near Częstochowa, the driver of one of the trucks was killed and four people were injured. – Unfortunately, some of these cars burst into flames. After arriving at the site, we extinguished the fire and evacuated the injured people from these cars, said Junior Brigadier Paweł Liszaj from the Municipal Headquarters of the State Fire Service in Częstochowa.

However, there are fewer and fewer similar accidents on the roads. The BRD24.pl portal calculated that in 2022 the number of people killed and injured in accidents, compared to the years before the pandemic, decreased by one fifth. The greatest decline was recorded among the youngest drivers – aged 18-24. Last year, the number of accidents they caused dropped by more than 40 percent, as did the number of people killed and injured.

Accident statisticsFakty TVN, data from brd24.pl

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– Young people are simply starting to count – says Dr. Ewa Tokarczy, a psychologist from the Institute of Forensic Psychology and Psychiatry in Warsaw.

Experts have no doubt that such a significant improvement in safety is associated with a drastic increase in fine rates. Each single offense can now cost a driver up to several thousand zlotys. – Young people are not yet at the peak of their earnings. They don’t have a career at the top yet, so serious fines are the most severe for them – says Łukasz Zboralski, security expert, editor-in-chief of the BRD24.pl website.

There is progress, but young drivers still pose the greatest threat in road traffic in Poland. – Calculated by population, drivers aged 18-24 cause 3-4 times more accidents than senior drivers – points out Mikołaj Krupiński from the Motor Transport Institute.

Other solutions than fines

How can we further encourage young people to take fewer risks on the roads? Experts agree that another increase in penalties will not improve the statistics. – Those who were supposed to be scared are now afraid of it, but it won’t do it anymore. There are studies from around the world, from various countries, that raising penalties beyond a certain level does not achieve anything, Zboralski points out.

Fatal accident at a railway crossing in the Jarocin districtPAP/Tomasz Wojtasik

To curb the recklessness of young drivers, you need to use other methods. Many of them have been successfully operating in other countries for years, including an extensive network of speed cameras.

– Two policemen are able to catch five drivers during a special, 24-hour speeding operation. The speed camera can catch you 24 hours a day, it never gets tired and you won’t miss anything – points out Zboralski.

What else can be done? – If we have instructors training haphazardly and earning extra money after hours, we will have the situation we have had for the last several dozen years – says Marcin Kukawka, a driving instructor. – We, as adults, parents, do a bad job because we teach children that we can break these rules. The child receives such consent from us and enters adult life with such consent – adds Magdalena Wit-Wesołowska, a transport psychologist.

Main photo source: TVN24

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