Fewer Danish road accidents add up to major savings

New figures have revealed that a substantial drop in traffic accidents in Denmark has saved the country’s government billions of kroner. The news comes via a new report issued by Copenhagen-based traffic safety council Rådet for Sikker Traffik. Officials from the group said on Wednesday (21 November) that a remarkable 56 percent decline in accidents seen since 2000 has saved taxpayers more than DKK 59 billion (EUR 7.9 billion).

The decline amounts to about 30,000 fewer accidents over the time frame. Each road death costs the state an estimated DKK 2 million, according to researchers from the Technical University of Denmark.

Spokesman Søren Troels Berg said on behalf of Rådet for Sikker Traffik, “These are the direct expenses of the ambulances, paramedics and hospital stays from traffic accidents. If you also included the costs of welfare and production that come from the injured person being unable to work, the overall costs would be even higher. We know that improvements to roads and motorways are costly, but so are accidents. We also know that increased policing is effective and reduces the number of accidents.”

Karsten Nonbo (Venstre) from the Danish government’s traffic commission (Færdselssikkerhedskommissionen) told the media that the news was unexpected but welcome.

He said, “I was sceptical when we reduced the target for the maximum number of dead from 300 to 200, but it seems that awareness campaigns, increased control and investments in traffic improvements save lives and are a major boost to the social economy.”

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