Police increase presence for Easter

More police will be on road for traffic safety and at Easter fairs and markets

Police expect increased road traffic during the four-day Easter weekend as people are expected to travel long distances to get out of town to enjoy the spring weather. Police will be increasing their presence on roads and stopping more cars for examinations in an effort to ensure road safety.

At the same time, due to the international situation security will be increased at Easter fairs, markets and other “soft targets” such as churches holding religious events.

“Above and beyond the normal service performance … about 500 police officers will be assigned to protect so-called soft targets that arise in connection with Easter. It is important to emphasize that the Czech Police do not want to underestimate the situation. Currently we do not have any information that would suggest a possible imminent risk to the Czech Republic,” Police Chief Tomáš Tuhý said in press release.

In addition to seasonal Easter-related sites, the police have identified 600 long-term soft targets in the Czech Republic that also see increased protection.

Separately, some 3,000 police officers will be on the roads from Wednesday until Easter Monday. The goal is to be seen on roads and to help calm the traffic flow. Catching drunken drivers is also a goal, as holidays always see an increase in people who drink and drive.

“The biggest risks [are] the growth in traffic volumes on major routes, an increase in the number of non-motorized road users, increased pedestrian movement in significant tourist regions, consumption of alcoholic beverages before driving and, ultimately, often festive drivers traveling to distant relatives,” Police Colonel Tomáš Lerch said on the Czech Police website. He is in charge of traffic police.

People should also plan for delays, as speeding or operating at unsafe speeds relative to road conditions is also a problem. “It is important to realize that road safety depends primarily on the behavior of the participants. Drivers should therefore allow for increased traffic on the roads, plan extra time for possible traffic backups in connection with the road repairs … and especially observe the traffic rules,” he added.

Police and driving experts also warn people to pay attention to road signs in areas they are not familiar with. Bicyclists and motorcyclists are urged to use helmets and reflective vests, especially in areas with limited visibility.

Overall, from 2000 to 2016 there has been a decline in road accidents on the Easter holiday. For statistical purposes, only three days are considered as Good Friday is new as a national holiday.

In 2000 there were 1,924 accidents, while in 2016 that dropped to 712 during three days. Deaths have fallen in the same time from 18 to seven, and injuries from 499 to 245. Speeding was the major cause of road deaths during Easter 2016.

Alcohol-related accidents fell from 135 to 64 from 2000 to 2016. The highest number was in 2003, with 193 accidents and the lowest was 2013 with 49. Easter Monday tends to see the most alcohol-related accidents.

Right after Easter on April 19 another event is planned, Speed Marathon will take place across Europe with police measuring traffic speeds so they can plan for the future and identify possible risk areas. The public can find out more at www.bezpecnecesty.cz and www.facebook.com/events.

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