Ventspils and Varakļāni named safest traffic areas

Ventspils was recognized as the safest city for road traffic in Latvia in 2022, while the Varakļāni municipality ranked first in the competition of 36 municipalities, as calculated by the “Road Traffic Safety Local Government Assessment Index 2022” developed by the Ministry of Transport (SM) and presented October 18.

SM said that there was no change in the city category compared to 2021 results. Ventspils is regarded as the most secure state capital for road traffic, which stands out for the best statistics regarding traffic accidents and the most positive assessment of residents regarding road safety and road infrastructure in the city. Rēzekne ranked second and Liepāja third.

There is a change in the municipality category - the Varakļāni municipality jumped to No. 1 in 2022 from No. 27-30 in 2021. Līvāni municipality ranked second and Alūksne third.

The results of the survey of residents on road safety carried out during the study show that the assessment of residents regarding road safety and road infrastructure in local governments has remained unchanged. 34% of Latvian residents feel safe in road traffic in their municipalities, while 40% describe traffic in their municipality or city as medium-safe.

Those who travel on an electric scooter (48%) and bike on a daily basis (37%) feel the least safe. On the other hand, those who travel by car on a daily basis mostly feel safe or very safe in road traffic (84%).

Comparing the results of the 2021 and 2022 studies, residents' views on the state of road infrastructure in the country have improved - 30% of those surveyed rated it very good or good, while 42% rated it satisfactory. Meanwhile, 62 percent said they have seen improvements aimed at bettering road safety and traffic flow in their local governments.

A quarter (26%) of residents have admitted to breaching road rules as car drivers at least once a month.

Drivers cited non-compliance with the speed limit outside the city (52%) and in the city (29%), phone use while behind the wheel (19%) and not showing the turn signal (11%) as the most common offenses. The most common violations of residents moving on foot are cited as jaywalking (40%) and jumping the red light (25%). Similarly, a fifth (21%) do not use reflective elements in dark weather. Those who use micromobility tools or move on a motorcycle or moped said the most common offenses were driving on the pavement (14%), not showing the turn signal (11%), and jumping the red light (8 percent).

The SM's “Road Safety Local Government Assessment Index” was carried out for the second time and it shall be financed from the resources of the Road Traffic Safety Council.

The study was carried out by the research agency Norstat in July 2023, with 2,002 respondents all over Latvia expressing their opinion.

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