A Swiss organisation representing accident victims and their families hopes to put the brakes on motorists who drive too fast.
On Tuesday, the road accident prevention group RoadCross launched a signature-collecting campaign for its “Protection from Racers” initiative.
The initiative already has the backing of a number of parliamentarians.
“Racers destroy families, so we have to ban them from the streets,” Radical Party parliamentarian Peter Malama told a news conference in Bern on Tuesday. Malama lost a friend who was hit by a car in a Basel neighbourhood.
The initiative would keep speeding drivers off Swiss streets by means of revoked licences and prison sentences, with higher penalties going to those who cause accidents resulting in death or serious injury.
“Racers are people who drive far too fast. The public deserves to be protected from such people,” said Social Democratic Party parliamentarian Daniel Jositsch.
Glaring abuse of speed limits isn’t the only offence covered by the initiative. It also covers the reckless passing of slower vehicles as well as participation in an illegal motorised road race.
Those caught racing would be sentenced to one to four years in prison - longer if somebody is killed or seriously injured as a result.
In addition, the initiative calls for racers’ vehicles to be confiscated and sold, with the proceeds going to the support of accident victims.
First-time offenders would lose their licences for at least two years; repeat offenders would lose theirs for life with the chance to re-apply after ten years.
For its initiative to be put to a nationwide vote, RoadCross must collect 100,000 signatures by October 2011.
Ready, set, go
The initiative is already off to a good start, according to RoadCross.
“Our phones are ringing off the hook,” spokeswoman Sabine Jurish told swissinfo.ch, adding that the response of the media and the public had been quite good.
Although the official signature-collecting period didn’t begin until Tuesday afternoon, many people requested the forms in advance.
Meanwhile, the initiative’s Facebook page is enjoying increased traffic. On Tuesday morning, it had about 600 fans; by midday it had more than 800.
Jurish said she believed that RoadCross would be able to gather the required signatures by the end of 2010, nearly a year ahead of the official deadline.
Susan Vogel-Misicka, swissinfo.ch
According to RoadCross, a racer is somebody who drives over:
- 70km/h where the speed limit is 30km/h.
- 100km/h in built-up areas.
- 140km/h outside built-up areas.
- 200km/h on the motorway.
According to the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention, 357 people were killed in Swiss road accidents in 2008, and another 25,556 were injured.
Of those, it’s believed that 147 deaths and 5,069 cases of injury were the result of speeding. 1,109 victims were severely injured.