The number of road traffic accident victims has fallen sharply in Norway but Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) reminds Norwegians that any life lost in traffic accidents is a meaningless tragedy.
Solberg participated in Trygg Traffic’s memorial service, “Light for reflection”, organized for the 26th time on Sunday.
“Last year, 110 people lost their lives in traffic in Norway. The number of fatalities in traffic is too high, even though it has halved since 2010 and Norway for the fourth consecutive year has the lowest number of traffic fatalities in Europe,” she said in a speech.
Solberg met relatives during the celebration, which took place in and at Skjee church in Sandefjord municipality in Vestfold.
The event started with Kjell Håkon Andersen playing the saxophone before county mayor Sven Tore Løkslid (Ap) welcomed guests. Karin Madeleine Devilleè Walin, head of the Emergency Police in Agder and Southeastern Police District, made an appeal and the participants marched with torches to the E18.
“Work to do”
In Vestfold, seven people lost their lives in traffic accidents last year.
“Left behind are girlfriends, parents and children. Family and friends feel the intense loss. Their lives have been turned upside down. It’s almost impossible to endure,” Solberg said.
She emphasized that everyone has a responsibility to contribute to increased traffic safety.
“We must all do what we can to prevent the next accident. As long as we have not reached the target of no fatalities or serious injuries in traffic accidents, we still have a tough job to do,” she added.
Veronica Isaksen represented the relatives during the memorial service and gave a speech inside the church. She lost her mother in 2018 in the Rjukan accident in which five people perished. She asked those present to take care of each other when accidents happen.
“Drive carefully and make sure you drive a safe and secure car,” was her message to all drivers.
Victims are mostly men
80 of the 110 people killed in traffic last year are men. The accidents in December last year, in which 14 people lost their lives compared to 6 the year before, caused the number of victims to double last year, preliminary figures from the Norwegian Public Roads Administration show.
For the first time in modern times, no children under the age of 16 died in traffic accidents.
“We have developed in the right direction for many years. We are good at securing the safety of our children in cars. I wish we were just as good at safeguarding the lives of the adults,” said road director Ingrid Dahl Hovland.
“Our analysis of the fatal accidents show that 33 percent of all people killed in a car have not used seat belts. Many of these would have saved their lives if they had worn seat belts,” she observed.
Nordland had the most fatal accidents last year with numbers up from five in 2018 to 16 last year. The next highest numbers come from Akershus (14), Trøndelag (11) and Møre og Romsdal (10). Finnmark, Oslo and Aust-Agder had the fewest fatalities with one accident in each county.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today