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Driving safer Swiss win top European road safety award

Police and firefighters simulate a crash near Lutry in canton Vaud to raise public awareness of the dangers of using a smartphone at the wheel

(Keystone)

Switzerland’s long-term efforts to improve road safety have been acknowledged by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC). 

The 2017 ETSC Road Safety Performance Index award was presented to Switzerland after it registered a 15% drop in road deaths in 2016. Deaths have declined by 34% since 2010 and by 60% since 2001. 

The country now has the lowest road mortality in Europe (26 deaths per million inhabitants), together with Norway (last year’s winner). Switzerland has climbed five places in ETSC’s ranking over the past five years.

“Switzerland deserves international recognition because, despite its good record on road safety, the country has refused to rest on its laurels,” declared ETSC executive director Antonio Avenoso on Tuesday. 

“Since 2013, the Via sicura programme has led to the announcement of 20 new measures. Switzerland now has zero tolerance of drink driving for novice and commercial vehicle drivers, is improving infrastructure safety and is drafting legislation to lower the risks among young and novice drivers,” he added.

“We hope Switzerland’s win sends a positive message to other traditional road safety leaders who have dropped the ball in recent years such as the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.”

Jürg Röthlisberger, director of the Swiss Federal Road Office, is due to pick up the award at a special ceremony in Brussels on Tuesday.

swissinfo.ch/sb

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