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Road safety package presented in Bern

The government has presented a package of about 60 measures to improve road safety, including a zero blood alcohol level for new drivers.

The plans, announced on Wednesday and sent out for consultation to organisations concerned, also include the obligation for cyclists to wear a helmet and courses for road users.

At a news conference in Bern on Wednesday, Transport Minister Moritz Leuenberger said the aim was to reduce further the number of accidents involving deaths and serious injuries.

Last year 384 people died on Swiss roads and 5,235 others were seriously injured. Material costs amounted to SFr6.5 billion ($5.6 billion).

The Transport and Environment Association welcomed the measures but said they did not go far enough and came late. It argued in particular that motorcycles and scooters, which were increasing in numbers on Swiss roads, had not been included in the package.

In its reaction, the Touring Club of Switzerland said some of the measures proposed were "unrealistic".

The cycling lobby organisation Pro Vélo commented that measures to make the wearing of helmets compulsory were counterproductive. It said it preferred to encourage the use of wearing helmets on the basis of individual responsibility.

The government plans to finance the road safety package, which will cost up to SFr300 million, from traffic fines and higher insurance premiums.


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