Presenting the National Action Plan for Improving Road Safety on Wednesday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said this had ambitious targets that aimed to immediately correct Greece's bad statistical record for car accidents. He particularly emphasised a programme of 450 million euros, financed by the European Investment Bank, for targeted improvements at 7,000 highly dangerous locations throughout the country.
"These are small changes that could, however, make the difference between life and death," Mitsotakis said, while noting that many accidents occur within cities and on the rural road network.
He highlighted the need for efficient horizontal policies that are based on real data and provide solutions to issues of coordination, and achieve specific targets in distinct areas of policy, especially where many ministries are involved. Mitsotakis also referred to the importance of teaching the younger generation, with road safety now included in school curriculums in an organised way.
"Children also affect the behaviour of adults," he pointed out, adding that there has to be a change in the culture and views about driving.
The prime minister referred to the necessary change to the testing system and the need to "look forward and embrace the progress of technology and the changes to transport habits demanded by the transition to green growth." He also noted the importance of adopting and implementing a modern set of rules and the change to driving behaviour that this will bring.
"Many accidents...are the result of individual choices, such as consumption of alcohol, excessive speed and the fact that we don't wear a seatbelt or helmet. Above all, we must think that change of behaviour on the road means respect for our fellow citizens and our family," he added.
Infrastructure and Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis said the plan was comprehensive, well worked out and realistic, and able to achieve specific results based on safe roads, responsible drivers, education on road safety and fair rules for everyone.