Armenia’s Roadway Police Could Save Lives But Prefer Making Money

Armenia’s Roadway Police Could Save Lives But Prefer Making Money
Daniel Ioannisyan

17:45, December 21, 2012

Armenia traffic police periodically declare that they are paying
special attention to roadway fatality statistics.

Citing their readiness to do their utmost to decrease the number on
traffic deaths, the cops are busily engaged in installing speed
cameras here and there throughout the country. Consequently, the
number of fines handed out to unaware motorists is on the uptick.

We have already spoken about the fact that the installation of speed
camera without proper notification flies in the face of a promise made
by the National Assembly.

But let’s get real for a moment and accept the fact that speeding
isn’t the only factor leading to roadway fatalities.

Primary reasons for fatalities

There are numerous factors leading to roadway fatalities or serious
traffic injuries. International studies have proved that speeding, on
average, accounts for a mere 5-10% of road accidents. For example,
going faster than the posted speed limit only accounted for 1.5% of
all road accidents in Russia in 2011.

Thus, if the police install a speed camera every few meters, the
number of road fatalities will not drop.

International experience shows that seat belts can drastically reduce
the number of fatalities, in addition to well-maintained roadways and
road signs. Annual inspections of the cars being driven is another way
to cut down on accidents.

We all are aware that in Armenia traffic lights, signs and pavement
markings at intersections are ill-planned and often cause violations
and accidents.

As for auto inspections in Armenia, everyone knows that the prime
minister’s initiative in this regard is just another way to collect
taxes and fees.

May licensed drivers aren’t even aware of the `rules of the road’ and
safety measures to be followed. People drive by reflex, as if they
were riding a bicycle, and not according to accepted norms.

Seat belts can save lives

Studies have shown that seat belts can save lives in the following situations

Frontal crash – If seat belts are worn, passengers in the front have a
60% chance of surviving and rear passengers 30%.
Sideways crash – There’s a 45% probability that the driver and all
passengers will live.
Rollovers – There’s an 85% probability that the driver and all
passengers will survive.
In middle impact crashes, seat belts can save the driver and front
seat passenger 65% of the time and rear passengers around 55%

In other words, if one fine day everyone started to wear seatbelts the
number of road fatalities (not counting pedestrians hit by cars) would
drop by some 60%

By law, drivers and passengers (front and rear) have been required to
wear seatbelts as far back as the 1970s in the Soviet Union. The same
law applied after Armenia’s independence. Bit Armenia’s roadway police
only started issuing tickets to violators a few years ago.

Nevertheless, we all know that many drivers merely wrap the black belt
over the chest without buckling it. This sleight of hand seems to
satisfy roadway cops that the driver is `buckled-up’. Inspectors never
seem to pay attention to passengers sitting in the rear, in
contravention to the law.

In summing up, we can safely say that some 80-90% of motorists and
their passengers do not attach their seatbelts. This translates into a
2.5 fold increase that an accident will result in fatalities. This
doesn’t seem to worry road police in Armenia.

Road police are engaged in business

Given such a situation, it is of primary importance to reinstitute the
proper auto inspections. Motorist should be obliged to use snow tires
in the winter. Tests for a driver’s license need to be stricter and
steps need to be taken to ensure that licenses aren’t issued just
because an applicant bribes the instructor. The country’s roads could
be better maintained as well.

If such measures are taken, including the monitoring of obligatory
seatbelt use by all, the number of fatalities and injured could be
decreased by a factor of three. Sadly, roadway police are more
interested in handing out tickets left and right.

The mission of the cops to collect fines has become such a priority
that they are even deceiving the National Assembly and intersections
have been transformed into violation facilitators,

It all goes to prove that the unannounced installation of speed
cameras by the roadway police is more about collecting money from
motorists rather than saving lives.