Road Safety: The lowest number of deaths and serious injuries on Czech roads in 20208/1/2021|Press releasesLast year, the death toll of traffic accidents dropped to a historic minimum. For the first time, the overall death toll fell under 500 casualties (460 deaths). The number of serious injuries also decreased significantly. Similar to other EU Member States, the accident rate was affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which reduced transport and mobility, mainly in spring season. The Police of the Czech Republic published a detailed assessment of accident rate in 2020. Lower traffic does not directly mean less serious accidents. On the contrary, empty roads tempted some drivers to speeding, which killed 4 out of 10 people in traffic accidents last year. In long run, high speed is the most frequent cause of tragic accidents. When people stayed at home and were less inclined to use public transport, more cyclists were on the road. Unfortunately, this group is the one with increased death toll, despite an overall mitigation of road traffic in spring. “Speeding and increased safety of cyclists and pedestrians are amongst the main focus areas of a new National Road Safety Strategy that was adopted by the government on Monday. Another priority is reducing number of accidents of young drivers, elimination of accident-prone areas and introduction of advanced technology”, said minister of transport Karel Havlíček. The government adopted Action Plan of the National Road Safety Strategy for 2021–2022, which includes 45 specific measures, clearly defines the responsible entity and measurable criteria of fulfilling an activity. “A program promoting placing of crash barriers, which will protect drivers from a collision with a tree, should increase safety on lower class roads. In cities, we need to protect vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists) and accommodate the transport area to their needs and safe passage. Precautionary campaigns will focus on speeding, distracted driving, increasing awareness of drugs and medicine influence on driving ability or visibility of road users”, said head of BESIP (National Road Safety) Unit of the Ministry of Transport Tomáš Neřold. Last year, the unit run the following precautionary safety campaigns: “Do not exceed your limit” focused on safety of motorcyclists aiming to show the constantly growing number of casualties on motorbikes. The main face of the campaign is the motorcyclist racer Lukáš Pešek. “Aggression kills” aiming to draw attention to the issue of aggressive driving, warn about the risks caused by aggression, encourage drivers to think about their behaviour and try to change it. The project was organized in cooperation with the Czech Insurance Association and the Police of the Czech Republic. “Don’t be under influence” focused on driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, mainly by youngest drivers up to 25 years of age. The project aims to motivate young people, who attend events with alcohol and drug consumption, to consider serious risks of driving a vehicle under the influence and protect their friends and dear ones by refusing drink- and drug-driving. The project is organized in cooperation with Drug Policy Unit of the Office of the Government. “Our job is not war, we all need to survive” aiming to draw attention to the situation of construction and maintenance workers in closures and road narrowing. If drivers do not stick to basic rules for safe passage through closures, their lives as well as the lives of construction and maintenance workers may be in peril. The project is organized in cooperation with Road Contractors Association. In terms of transport education, the unit carried out the following activities in 2020: Morning and afternoon classes on children traffic playgrounds opened to general public; Online courses for teachers of nursery schools, primary schools and educational establishments focused on transport education; Offer of online educational materials, programs, tests etc. for remote teaching to schools and educational establishments related to transport education (dopravnivychova.cz); 5 educational videos for after school cares and educational establishments focused on working with children in a leisure time facility.