- Shock posters are intended to deter speeders
- Impact at 140 kilometers per hour in the curve
- Death numbers are falling more slowly
Shock posters are intended to deter speeders
Wolfgang Tiefensee in front of one of the posters for the new campaign "Slow down!"
A happy family – died in a car accident at too high a speed. A happy couple – died on a fast motorcycle excursion. With stories like this, Transport Minister Tiefensee wants to keep Germans off the lawn. The latest figures make it clear why this is necessary.
Gabi, Frank, Mia and Max look from a poster at the busy Wilhelmstrasse in Berlin and laugh. Gabi and Frank are the parents, Mia is maybe four years old, Max is still a baby. It could be a snapshot from the family album. Everyone seems to be having a great time.
But the photo has a black mourning frame, just like the poster. Next to the photo is a black cross – it’s an obituary notice. Because Gabi, Frank and the children drove their car too fast and had a fatal accident. “They wanted to go home quickly,” it says on the poster like an indictment.
Of course, these four people weren’t really the victims of a traffic accident. They are actors who have given their faces to the new campaign “Get off the gas!” By the Ministry of Transport and the German Road Safety Council (DVR). Real victims of traffic accidents are not shown for moral reasons.
However, one of the victims also appeared to present the campaign. Ina Kutscher didn’t want her face on the posters, but she supports the campaign. Your presence is important to the initiators – Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee (SPD) and DVR President Manfred Brandmann – to give the whole thing a personal touch, explains Tiefensee. Facts should become faces and people. The facts are: Around 5,000 people die in road traffic every year, and more than 430,000 are seriously injured.
Impact at 140 kilometers per hour in the curve
Ina Kutscher represents them all. Just like the obituaries on the posters, it should “shake people up”, explains Tiefensee. At the same time, he admits that the campaign is “not entirely undisputed”. Ina Kutscher shifts her weight from one leg to the other.
Right next to the bend in which the coachman had an accident, the volunteer fire brigade celebrated a party that day and freed them from the car. Thanks to the quick help, Kutscher came to the hospital alive and struggled with death there for ten days. She later fought to get out of the wheelchair.
Death numbers are falling more slowly
Then Kutscher launched an initiative to educate people about dangers in traffic. She got to know the President of the German Society for Trauma Surgery, Axel Ekkernkamp, at traveling exhibitions organized by her initiative. Kutscher’s case is exemplary for him, because in 31 percent of all traffic accidents with fatalities or serious injuries, inappropriate speed is the reason. In the dangerous bend where Kutscher’s car was rammed by the other car, only 70 kilometers per hour were allowed.
Although the annual death toll has decreased in recent years, road traffic accidents are still the leading cause of death among those under the age of 45. In addition, the number of deaths is falling more slowly, and the number of seriously injured people in road accidents rose in 2007 by 2.2 percent to 431,500.
Ekkernkamp can still remember one particularly bitter case. “We pulled a deceased car driver out of his car. He had put a sign on his hood that said ’I like to race’, ”he says.
Transport Minister Tiefensee does not want to stop at the campaign to educate drivers to slow down. He also wants to revise the catalog of fines. The fines should be doubled for driving too fast or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Tiefensee also wants to support a speed limit for medium-sized vans on motorways. A general speed limit on motorways is "not an issue in the grand coalition".
Ina Kutscher bought an automatic car and took driving lessons with a psychologist, but she still prefers to use public transport. Regarding the responsibility of every driver, she says: “You can take people’s life, but you cannot give it back to them. That’s why I beg everyone: Pay attention! "
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