Speed-trap marathon exposes heedless drivers

Take note – story published 8 years ago

Thursday’s speed-control marathon on Latvia’s motorways netted plenty of traffic violators, but the main finding confirmed that the nation’s drivers do not observe road safety laws unless there is a visible police or radar camera presence.

State Police Traffic Safety Authority chief Normunds Krapsis told LTV morning news program Rīta Panorāma Friday that the 24-hour marathon, which took place across many EU states, resulted in a total of 578 issued traffic tickets.

One driver set the marathon’s record, having been clocked at 162 kph on the Rēzekne-Daugavpils highway. Another sped through a 50 kph residential zone in Jelgava at a speed of 99 kph. But the drunk driver exceeding 150 kph also near Jelgava “fell out of the frame of safe driving altogether,” said the nation’s top traffic cop.

Krapsis termed drivers’ attitudes toward road safety simply “unacceptable.”

“Our attitude is one of following the rules only when they are being enforced,” Krapsis said.

Vineta Mistre of the State Police Traffic Supervisory Board also pointed out that most drivers had completely ignored news reports about the marathon without changing their driving habits at all.

The police believe the marathon could become an annual tradition and plan on doing it again next year.

Already 46 people have perished on Latvia’s roads so far this year, with 800 sustaining injuries from traffic accidents. Latvia is the EU’s deadliest country in terms of traffic fatalities.

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