Hope that Latvian road death toll will be lower than recent years

A total of 107 people have died in road accidents so far this year, and the traffic safety situation has not improved much, officials at the Road Traffic Safety Council officials said November 25, reported the LETA news agency.

According to Normunds Krapsis, head of the State Police's Traffic Safety Department, 107 people have died in traffic accidents so far this year, compared to 120 road fatalities in January-October last year and 108 road fatalities in the same period in 2017. However, winter in Latvia has only just begun and December is still ahead, he added.

Assessing overall traffic safety, Krapsis said: "The situation is satisfactory, but there is no reason to rejoice".

Collisions and collisions involving pedestrians account for the majority of road fatalities.

Collisions are mostly caused by reckless driving or tired drivers at the wheel, as a result of which automobiles veer into oncoming traffic or off the road.

With regard to pedestrians, the police have observed that they often do not wear reflectors, and sometimes there is no adequate road infrastructure for safe pedestrian traffic.

In total, 48 motorists, 31 pedestrians and 14 passengers have been killed in road accidents so far this year. The number also includes five children, and the police point out that children in automobiles often do not fasten their seatbelts.

Electric scooters pose a new challenge to the police. This year, two people riding electric scooters died in traffic accidents - compared to zero last year, and 35 people riding electric scooters suffered injuries, said Krapsis.

Three people died after their automobiles collided with forest animals, while 42 suffered injuries.

As previously reported by LSM, despite a general improvement in Latvia's road safety record over the last twenty years, Latvian roads continue to be among the most dangerous in Europe. According to the figures of the Latvian State Police, in 2018, 148 people died on Latvian roads, an increase on the figure for 2017 (136 deaths) but not as high as 2016's figure (157 deaths). Hopefully the final figure for 2019 can undercut that tally considerably.

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