Two deadly road accidents highlight Lithuanian plight

  • 2008-09-01
  • TBT Staff

Lithuanian roads are the deadliest in Europe (Photo by Peter Megyeri).

VILNIUS - Twodeadly road accidents on Sunday have served to once again highlight Lithuania'spoor road safety record.

Lithuania'sroad death rate 's which stands as the highest in Europeat nearly 22 per 100,000 people 's has been a long-standing problem for thecountry.

"You can't assume that everyone observes the rules. Onceyou're seriously injured, the fact that someone else is at fault will do littleto console you," Lithuanian driver Martynas Gircys told The Baltic Timesearlier this year.

Sunday's deadly accidents took place within hours of eachother.

In the first crash, a Polish citizen was thrown from amotorcycle at about 5:30 p.m. in theSalcininkai district. The man, who was reportedly driving a Yamaha motorcycle,brushed the back side of a VW Passat and went flying off the bike and onto theroad. He died in the hospital shortly after.

The second accident took place at about 9:40 p.m. in the Kalvarija district of the country. ALatvian citizen was driving along the Kaunas- Marijampole 's Suvalkai road near the Polish border when an elderly manunexpectedly stepped out in front of his car. The Latvian man, who was drivinga Volvo FH12 with a semi-trailer, hit and fatally wounded the man.

The two deaths serve to highlight a problem that theLithuanian police had been working hard to tackle. The police had instituted aseries of new measures to help combat the problem, and it seemed a few monthsago that the measures were working.

"This year more than 100 fewer people died because of thetighter penalties and confiscation of transport," Rytis Vosylius, ChiefSpecialist of the Lithuanian Police Traffic Supervision Service, told TBT inJuly.

More than 700 Lithuanians have perished on Lithuanian roads peryear for the last five years. Since 1980, yearly road deaths have numberedbelow 700 only seven times.