Police present traffic accident statistics: more fatalities, fewer injuries

In 2016, 29 people died on Hamburg’s roads. The automobile club is focusing on technical improvements, while the bicycle club is calling for more 30 km/h zones.

Dangerous road: Three cyclists died in Hamburg last year. Photo: Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa

Too high a speed, too little distance and ignoring a red light – these were the main reasons why people were injured in road traffic in 2016. As the traffic accident balance, which Interior Senator Andy Grote (SPD) presented yesterday, shows, there were more accidents in Hamburg than there were for the fourth year in a row. Fewer people were injured, but more people were killed than in the previous year. In view of the absolute number of deaths and injuries, the Left Party and the ADFC demanded that the Senate limit speed to 30 km/h on more roads.

In 2016, 29 people died in road traffic accidents, compared with 20 the year before. However, because 29 is a small number, this figure is of little significance. A look at the long-term development suggests that we are talking about stagnation at a low level. Whereas 105 people died on Hamburg’s roads in 1990, the figure was 41 in 2000, 43 five years later and only 20 in 2015. The number of people injured fell fairly steadily from a good 12,000 in 1995 to a good 9,000 in 2016.

For Christian Hieff , the spokesman for ADAC Hansa, this can also be explained by technical progress. First, passive systems such as seat belts and airbags were introduced, followed by assistance systems such as the ABS anti-lock braking system and the anti-skid system. The next step, he said, is emergency braking systems. "If that catches on in the market, we will hopefully have a further reduction in the number of accidents," Hieff says.

Since November 2015, emergency braking systems in trucks have been mandatory, it says. The ADAC is calling for these systems to be set up in such a way that they cannot be permanently switched off, as is the case today, which drivers like to do because it gives them greater freedom.

In 2016, there were 68,404 traffic accidents in Hamburg, 1,207 more than the year before.

Property damage occurred in 88 percent of accidents, and personal injury in twelve percent.

The number of injured fell by 2.9 percent from 10,123 to 9,830, and the number of seriously injured by as much as 5.9 percent.

Fatal accidents 29 people were killed. These included three cyclists, nine motorcyclists and moped riders, six pedestrians, nine car drivers and two truck drivers. In the previous year, 20 people died in traffic accidents.

With 16 traffic fatalities per million inhabitants the risk of being killed in a traffic accident is lower in no other German state than in Hamburg.

Smartphones and other electronics are considered a major danger by the police: 10,000 times they caught drivers operating such devices.

The number of accidents involving trucks rose sharply in 2016 – including those in which people were injured. Eleven people, including one child, died in accidents involving trucks. Because of the six mandatory mirrors, truck drivers are actually already unlikely to miss anyone, Senator Grote said. "The blind spot no longer exists on closer inspection."

There has been a sharp drop in the number of young adults involved in accidents in a long-term comparison: from just under 2,200 in 2000 to just over 1,300 in 2016. Like seniors, young adults are the main cause of the accidents in which they are involved, accounting for about 60 percent.

"From the age of 75, the risk of being the main causer increases significantly," said Ulf Schroder, the head of the Traffic Directorate. Schroder recommended that older road users take trips with driving instructors from time to time. "The fact that the opportunities for self-testing are only reluctantly taken up is unsatisfactory," Schroder said.

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