Pedestrian deaths rising

Statues representing each victim from 2017 are in Karlovo náměstí

Pedestrian deaths are rising. Some 24 people have died so far this year in traffic accidents in Prague, which is seven more than in all of last year, Traffic Police head Tomáš Lerch said on the European Day Without a Road Death (EDWARD), held Sept. 19.

The vast majority of the victims are pedestrians, according to Tomáš Neřold from BESIP, the road safety department of the Czech Transport Ministry.

The most common cause of fatal accidents is inattention. Drivers are not paying attention to the road, and pedestrians, in particular, are not being careful when crossing in front of trams.

Prague and the Czech Republic this year joined Project EDWARD for the first time. It is aimed at making a permanent reduction in the number of traffic collision victims.

Although the number of traffic deaths has declined over the long run, the Czech Republic is still doing poorly compared to the rest of Europe. Prague had the highest accident rate of any Czech region.

“There were 23,032 traffic accidents in Prague, in which 17 people died. 11 of those were pedestrians. Another 156 were seriously injured. These figures are still high and need to be highlighted while we take action that can reduce them,” Lerch said.

At Karlovo náměstí, an exhibition of 17 angels, symbolizing last year's accident victims in Prague, was launched Sept 19. The exhibition will be on display until Nov. 18, 2018. The sculptures were made by the students at the Secondary School of Transport in Prague.

So far this year, there have been 19 pedestrians killed. “Unfortunately, this year's development is not at all favorable,” the Traffic Police’s Lerch said.

Eleven statues of angels had shoes to represent pedestrians, Other angel statues had car rims, motorcycle helmets, or a bicycle wheel, depending on the specific accident they represented.

A tablet with exact time, date and victim’s name is with each angel to show that the deaths are not an abstract concept but refer to real people.

The Czech Republic did not meet the goal of the day without road deaths, since two people died in the morning, according to Lerch.

In the Czech Republic, the social perception of security should be improved, he said, adding that traffic safety education is important. “This has been somewhat forgotten in recent years,” Lerch said.

In a statement before Project EDWARD took place, Czech Police Chief Tomáš Tuhý said that not knowing how to fully manage a vehicle is one of the main causes of all traffic accidents, including those with tragic consequences. He also added that police will focus on drivers using “speech and recording devices” while driving, referring to phones, music players and similar distractions.

The police will also be carrying out education programs on an ongoing basis as part of its overall strategy to reduce accidents.

Some 103,821 accidents occurred last year in the whole Czech Republic, and 502 people died. This is the lowest number of deaths since 1961, when the police introduced comprehensive accident statistics.

Project EDWARD began in 2016 in the UK. The organizers stress that road safety is not an issue for just one day a year, but every day.

The upturn in accidents in Prague is not unique. “For the first few years of this decade, countries across the EU have been highly successful in pursuing the 2020 50 percent reduction target. But the arrival of a second successive year of disappointing news shows that this downward trend has stagnated,” the project website states.

People can fill in an online pledge to promise to follow better road safety practices at

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