Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Private car traffic and road safety in Finland 1.10.1979

Merja sent me this very eye opening FDC with a stamp issued in Finland on 1.10.1979.  In the early 1970s, more than one thousand people died in road traffic accidents in Finland each year. When the number of motor vehicles and total vehicle mileage are taken into account, that figure is many times higher than today. The most common cause of accidents is found between the wheel and the driver’s seat.
Seat belts for drivers and front-seat passengers became compulsory in Finland at the beginning of 1971. However, although passenger cars were fitted with seat belts, wearing them was not compulsory at the time. The lack of use probably partly explains the high number of fatalities in road traffic accidents in the early 1970s.
The number of road fatalities continued to grow for the next couple of years, after which the number began to fall rapidly. Key reasons for this trend probably included changes in attitudes, the introduction of speed limits, as well as the introduction of a law requiring people to wear a seat belt on 1 July 1975.
According to the VALT study, seat belt was worn by 54% of those who died and by 64% of those who were injured in fatal accidents. Of those who died not wearing a seat belt, 33% would probably have been saved if they had been wearing a seat belt.
The most typical single risk factor was the driver’s steering error. Speed-related background factors, such as speeding or excessive speed with respect to driving conditions, driver’s skills or the vehicle, were present in 44% of all motor vehicle accidents.
Fatal accidents resulting from a purely technical failure in the vehicle were extremely rare. So, People do be careful when driving on icy roads in winter.

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