Prague warns against buying SUVs

A new part of a campaign to keep the city clean says SUVs are not ideal

Prague is trying to reduce the number of SUVs in the city center. The project is part of the ongoing Čistou stopou Prahou campaign, which promotes a cleaner, more modern and ecological city.

The project wants people to ask themselves whether they really an SUV, or if it is just for show.

A new page on the Čistou stopou Prahou portal says there are cheaper and cleaner ways to get downtown. The use of SUVs causes a lot of pollution, which is detrimental to health, and also causes significant wear and tear on public roads due the weight of the vehicles.

The new campaign is meant as a counterpoint to advertising for SUVs, which paints a rosy picture of the vehicles while leaving out the drawbacks. Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek (ČSSD), responsible for transportation, told the media that the city could not dictate to people what cars to buy, but it could help them make a more informed decision before purchasing a vehicle.

Aside from higher pollution, SUVs have other issues, The height of the front of the car obstructs the view, and children or pets that dart out on the road suddenly are less likely to be seen in time. The vehicles also take up more space on the road and in parking spots. Despite the size of the vehicles, the storage area in the trunk is often no larger than in smaller cars, according to the campaign.

The large cars can also be more difficult to handle on narrow streets and on windy roads.

Statistics given by the campaign point to more money spent on fuel and other negative economic impacts as well as more time wasted sitting in traffic jams. In Prague, drivers can spend five and half days per year sitting idle. This adds up to almost two months sitting in traffic jams every 10 years. Aside from wasted time, sitting in traffic jams leads to frustration and lack of a sense of well-being. 

The city recommends using public transportation, cycling or walking as alternatives.

The campaign, in Czech, can be seen here. www.cistoustopou.cz (CZ)

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