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The reason for road accidents in Greece is drivers’ recklessness

12 July 2011 / 21:07:55  GRReporter
6271 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

In Greece, most car accidents happen in the summer. Each year, the country pays blood road tax with thousands of victims. Many people on the road do manage to escape, but spend the rest of their lives in wheelchairs. GRReporter talked about the reasons that cause many accidents on the Greek roads and about the ways to reduce them with Thassos Markuizos known as Yaveris – the legendary Greek rally driver who devotes much of his time in lectures on traffic safety and what should each person individually change in himself to achieve it.

What are the main problems in the drivers’ behavior in your opinion?

The problem is only one. In Greece, as in most countries, if you ask the most responsible and the most irresponsible driver or pedestrian what causes the accidents they would answer: the high speed, crossing or moving in the red light, not stopping at the Stop sign, driving after alcohol intake, overtaking at turns with no visibility, driving a motorcycle without a helmet, etc. Traffic control authorities actually are of the same opinion. This is wrong.

These are not causes but symptoms. The reason is the recklessness for only a foolish man would move in the red light, drive drunk and kill his family and himself. When you do not put the correct diagnosis, which is foolishness, you therefore should educate, inform, involve the people and wake up their conscience, but only try to solve the problem with piecemeal measures for the symptoms of the problem, you not only do not solve it but also contribute to its disguise. It is as if your stomach hurts and you do not see a doctor, but take a painkiller pill. It reduces the pain, but it reappears after five hours. This continues, and the pill not only helps temporarily, but conceals the reason which is cancer.

The same thing applies to car accidents. If the system, the citizens and the state do not understand that we have no enough conscience concerning the most important and valuable things which are our life, family and children, and repeat the same mistakes every day, just because we are so used to it, we get to chronic stupidity, which I already mentioned. Therefore, we should declare war on this stupidity. We can fight it only by training the mind.

What kind of training do you mean?

There are very simple solutions. The first is to awaken the people, to involve them in the problem through education and information. Today, we can achieve this with our children at home and through the media. We can show shocking videos in which everyone can see how the most precious thing – the human life - could be lost because of one stupid action, that this could affect his home and family in the most tragic way - with a chest or a wheelchair. We can show the videos with the results from the mistakes that Western Europe showed over the past 40 years and the led to impressive reductions in road accidents. They declined by above 95% especially in northern Europe and countries such as Sweden and Finland. The reduction in Europe is 50% and there is still a 60%increase in Greece. It is clear that the first thing the state needs to do is to introduce the successful methods for improving people's attention. Children should also watch these videos, but mostly their parents so that they could become good examples for them because education is at home first and then it is supposed to continue in the schools. There is also a lack of properly trained teachers and educators to teach the students in the way they would do it with their children.

The next solution is good roads. The state should build such roads to "forgive" the mistakes of drivers and to protect them. In many cases, incorrect actions are the reasons for accidents rather than aggressive drivers. For example, if I make the mistake to go into the opposite lane on the road Corinth - Patras, which is very dangerous and there is no guard rails in the middle, I will kill you. The same applies for the roads in cities. All interchanges and intersections have to be built as well as all the signs that help people protect themselves from one another.

The third is the police presence. The law must be in its place to protect drivers from the few people with bad behavior remaining on the roads, i.e. from tomorrow's murderers. Unfortunately, the law in Greece applies to all drivers, because all are bad drivers and people. I call them in this way because a person who drives in the red light can not be good. The law applies also to the policemen, who do not wear seat belts in their cars, make wrong turns, violate the regulations with no fear that someone would impose fines on them because they are themselves representatives of the law. The training I mentioned should apply to them too. Young people who graduate from police schools and dress in uniforms should be aware that they perform a public task and the people they will face are their brothers and fathers. Drivers, in turn, should remember that the young policeman who stops them is their child, trying to save their lives rather than telling them "Do you know who I am." This is the painfully known Greek arrogance, which is caused by the lack of culture.

Tags: SocietyRoad accidentsCrashesCulture on the road
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