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27 May, 2000
Deaths on Greek roads annually cause a reduction in the population the size of a large village, while those injured equal the number of the inhabitants of a small town, Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis told a Cabinet meeting on Friday.
The causes of the carnage are attributed to aggressive and drunken driving, speeding, violation of safety requirements, such as non-use of helmets and seat belts, inadequate policing and the bad state of many roads.
Striking a hopeful note, Transport Minister Christos Verelis told the meeting on improving road safety that the number of road accident deaths fell by five percent in 1999, while those injured were two percent less. Particular features of the problem were that 40 percent of those killed were either motorcyclists or pedestrians, while the number of cars had doubled to 4.1 million and the number of motorcyclists trebled to 730,000 in the last 12 years.
The Cabinet debated a series of proposals for incorporation to a national road safety program, including measures designed to improve technical control of vehicles, random re-testing of drivers, the creation of 200 traffic education parks, use of better technology in detecting violators of the traffic code and information campaigns.
Verelis also said his ministry would create more technical control stations at border posts, as a large number of cars crossing the border from other Balkan countries did not meet safety specifications. He added there would also be a review of driving licenses from Albania, Bulgaria and Romania.
Source: Athens News Agency