What does the driver need to know to minimize the risk of getting into a traffic accident? 

It seems that the “Black Friday” on July 20, which, as a result of terrible accidents on the roads, took more than two dozen human lives, hadn’t become a fuse for Ukrainians that would make them more responsible about their own lives and the lives of those people, who turned out to be on the road near them. To make sure that it is so, it’s worth taking into account the accident statistics, which is now regularly published by the Ukrainian Patrol Police Department.

And although law enforcement officials say that the number of accidents if we compare this indicator with last year’s for the same period, decreased by more than 10%, people continue to die, so this information does not make the life easier. Opinion decided to find out what each driver needs to know in order to protect himself from unpleasant situations on the road.

According to the Department of the Patrol Police, which published on their official website that for 7 months of this year on the roads of Ukraine there were more than 81,000 traffic accidents. Out of all these, 12,090 accidents were with victims, in which 1,545 people were killed and 15,647 were injured. Most of all accidents during this time were recorded in the capital (21,045) and Odesa (7,319). At the third place by the number of road accidents is Kharkiv region (6,197). Then Kyiv (6,068) and Lviv (5,922) regions follow.

The Ministry of Infrastructure notes that today on the roads of state importance there are more than a hundred special emergency areas. Most of these concentrations of traffic accidents are in Odesa (16) and Rivne (11) regions. In the Kherson region there are 8, in Lviv and Ternopil regions there are 7. At the same time the Police say that the main reasons in any case is the long-known “combo”: speeding (34% for 7 months of this year), violation of maneuvering (20% ) and crossroads rules (8%), as well as non-compliance with traffic rules by pedestrians (8%) and non-compliance with the distance (7%). As for violation of the rules for the passage of pedestrian crossings, too, there are 7% of accidents. Driving under the influence of alcohol ‒ 4%.

In the language of figures

If we compare the accident rate statistics for the first half of this year and similar last year’s figures, the following picture emerges: in 2018, during this time, 68,776 accidents were registered, in 2017 ‒ 76,622, or 10.2% more. So, this is the 10% reduction in the level of accidents, which the police constantly recalls.

The number of road accidents with the victims has also decreased for January-June: from 11,859 accidents last year to 9,965 accidents this year. Therefore, it is 16% less. Since the beginning of the year, in early July, 1,237 people died in accidents, which is 10.2% less than in the same period last year (1,377 dead).

Fewer people were injured in road accidents: for example, in the first six months of the year, 12,847 people were injured in 2018, which is 15.9% less than in the six months of 2017, when there were 15,273 injured people. The greatest increase in the total number of road accidents on the road network was recorded in Luhansk (+ 10.4%) and in Ivano-Frankivsk (+ 0.9%) regions. The increase in the number of road accidents with the victims during this time was recorded only in Kyiv region (+ 6.9%).

The number of people, killed in road accidents in January-June 2018, increased, compared to the same period in Mykolaiv (+ 36.1%), Volyn (21.7%), Rivne (+ 7.3%) and Poltava (+ 2%) regions. At the same time in Kyiv and Mykolaiv regions, there is an increase in the number of injured: by 14.2% and 5.2%, respectively.

The emergency months are March and September

I remember when I talked with one of the former leaders of the ex-department of the State Automobile Inspection of Ukraine, he stressed several times that March and September were traditionally the most troubled months of the year. In 2018, it seems that all records will be beaten by July, with its “Black Friday” and other heavy accidents, which were fixed after July 20. However, it would be possible to say this only in January of the next year, when all the figures will be reduced. Meanwhile, we continue to compare data for the first half of the year.

Although the reduction is minor, however, in any case, these are saved lives, and therefore, it is positive. So, if we compare the accident rates at the beginning of this year and close to its middle, it gradually decreases. For example, if at the end of January 2018 compared with January 2017, the accidents with the injured were minus 5.9%, then in the results of six months of 2018, this indicator already amounted to minus 16%. Fewer people died during the accidents: in January this year, compared with January last year, the decrease was 2.1%, according to the results of six months it is already 10.2%. There are also decrease in injured: according to the results of January, it is 8.8%, by the results of six months it is even 15.9%.

As it was noted by the first deputy head of the Department of Patrol Police of Ukraine Oleksii Biloshytsky in the commentary for Opinion, more people died in accidents during the first 6 months of the year precisely at the place of the accident (846 people, or 68.4% of the total number of deaths). Another 23.5% (291 people) died in the hospital within a month. A hundred people or 8.1% of the dead did not have time to be taken to the hospital.

If we analyze the accident rate for six months by months, the greatest number of accidents this year is in March: 19% of all accidents. However, most of the road accidents with the injured people occurred in June (21.5% of the total for 6 months). The largest number of deaths also occurred in June (20.9% of all). The peak of injuries for the first half of 2018 was also observed in June: 21.4% of all traumatized during this period.

“Black Friday” is not an exception, but a confirmation of the trend

Although the advice, given in the headline of this material, not to get behind the wheel on Friday, is certainly not a panacea, there is still a hint of rationality. The fact is that on Friday there are more accidents for the first half of the year (11,508) if you break them by the days of the week. This is 16.7% of all accidents. Drivers should also be careful on Wednesdays and Tuesdays. And the least of all accidents occur on Sundays and Saturdays. This trend has been preserved for many years.

Most of the accidents with the victims also occur on Friday (1,558) – this is 15.6% of all road accidents with the victims. Ironically, but in the second place are Saturdays, with 1,509 injured, on the third – Thursdays (1,454 injured). Last year, most of the road accidents with victims during this period were also recorded on Fridays (1,942 cases). On the second place are also Saturdays (1,715 road accident), and on the third – Tuesdays (1,680 accidents), which literally was “chased” by Sundays, with its 1,671 road accident with the victims.

Uneven distribution of traffic accidents is also by time of day. It is clear that the least of them are at night. But if you take into account only a bright time, then the peak of the accident rate is at 18 o’clock in the afternoon when people are returning tired from work ‒ this is 7% of the total number of accidents. It is at this time that we see the largest traffic jams. At 6 PM, there is also the largest number of accidents with victims. This is about 8.1% of the total number of road accidents with the victims.

The interesting thing is that, if we are talking about the level of accidents, astrologers note that it is not only the month of the year, the day of the week or the time of the day that matters. They advise to pay attention also to the position of celestial bodies: usually, it is a very dangerous time when there are eclipses or so-called corridors.

…And now, taking into account the recent terrible accidents that did not become a warning to either the home-grown “Schumachers”, or the authorities, who continue to talk about how they will deal with the level of accidents on Ukrainian roads, we will give the information for reflection. In Bulgaria, in late August this year, not far from one of the cities, the bus driver lost control on a just repaired piece of the road ‒ and the bus with people flew off the cliff. As a result of this accident, 17 people died.

Immediately after the accident, experts began to analyze the composition of the asphalt pavement, used to repair the road, and it turned out that it was intended for the construction of park lanes, but not for roads. The public immediately accused the government of fraud in the construction of roads. They also raised the issue of corruption in this process. Therefore, less than a week, three high-ranking Bulgarian officials ‒ the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Transport and the person responsible for regional development ‒ have lost their posts.

Cases, when the condition of the road surface is the real cause of a serious accident, are also enough in Ukraine, however, in statistical reports they usually fall under other categories. And the question whether officials can be punished for such things still remains rhetorical.

By Larysa Vyshynska

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