18 Feb 2016 - 12:00
Around 100 senior officials from nine countries are visiting Georgia’s capital Tbilisi to discuss how to improve road safety in Georgia and the region.
Over the next two days delegates from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan will present the findings of the TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe Caucasus Asia) Road Safety II project, which was carried out over 2014 and 2015
At the February 18-19 regional meeting, the road safety experts will discuss how to continue implementing safer road use even though the project had formally finished.
The TRACECA project was financed by the European Union (EU) and aimed to assist the beneficiary countries to address their road safety problems.
This region between Europe and China is expected to undergo enormous increases in traffic flows in future years. Unfortunately existing road design standards … do not comply with international best practice. And in many cases newly built roads continue to include unsafe conditions,” read the press statement published by TRACECA project.
About 200,000 people (mostly young adults) die annually as a result of road accidents in the region, said the statement.
This is costing the region around $17 billion USD each year, which is around four percent of the region’s annual GDP,” read the statement.
In Georgia the number of road traffic accidents was increasing. Figures from Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs showed there were 6,432 road accidents in 2015. This was a 7.3 percent increase on the 5,992 crashes reported in 2014.
Of the 6,432 road accidents, 299 were caused by intoxicated drivers, showed the Ministry’s figures.
Last year more than 600 people died in accidents on Georgian roads and an additional 9,187 people were injured. To compare 8,536 people were injured in car accidents in 2014 while 511 were killed.
TRACECA said Georgia spent over $438 million USD each year on road crashes and casualties. This was 3.9 percent of the country’s annual GDP.
TRACECA project insiders said the EU placed "great importance” on road safety and over the last four decades international efforts has seen the number of deaths and injuries resulting from car crashes reduce each year.