From Iceland — Traffic Accident Fatalities On The Rise

Traffic Accident Fatalities On The Rise

Published January 22, 2024

Photo by
Art Bicnick

The number of traffic accident fatalities recorded in 2024 has not been seen in decades, reports Vísir.

In the first seventeen days of 2024, there have been five fatalities in traffic accidents. Two people died on Grindavíkurvegur road, two near Skaftafell, and one in Hvalfjörður. Þórhildur Elínardóttir, the communications director of the Icelandic Transport Authority emphasises that such numbers have not been observed in previous years. “In our accident registration statistics, we look back to the year 1973, and 1977 was particularly grim, starting very poorly. It was similar, but this is the worst we have seen,” says Þórhildur.

In 1977, the fifth fatal accident occurred on January 18th, making it the deadliest year in traffic with 37 fatalities.

The Icelandic Transport Authority oversees accident registration and prevention. Þórhildur highlights the importance of maintaining general educational projects related to traffic safety. “Of course, responding to the challenges we have been facing in recent years, which have been diverse. The last ten years or so have seen issues ranging from mobile phone use while driving to increase in the number of tourists, electric scooters, and more.”

Road maintenance is crucial, and Icelanders have set two traffic-related goals. Firstly, a commitment to a five percent reduction in serious injuries or deaths in traffic each year. Secondly, to be among the five European nations with the fewest traffic accidents per capita.

Þórhildur notes that the current annual accident count is alarming. “Naturally, we hope that this is not indicative of what the rest of the year holds,” she says.

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