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10-km reduction in speed limit can cut traffic accidents up to 23%

10-km reduction in speed limit can cut traffic accidents up to 23%

Posted February. 05, 2018 08:01,   

Updated February. 05, 2018 08:01


Eight out of 10 traffic accidents that occur in Korea annually have happened in urban areas, a new analysis shows. Notably, 10-kilometer reduction in speed limit in urban areas can reduce traffic accidents by up to 23 percent every year.

According to the National Police Agency and Samsung Traffic Safety Research Institute on Sunday, 185,978 of all traffic accidents (227,540) that occurred in Korea in 2015 happened in urban areas. The urban area refers to an area comprising residential, commercial and industrial districts and green areas based on urban development planning. The number of traffic accidents per sq-kilometer area was 36 in the city. The number was 0.4 in the provincial area (mostly rural area), which refers to areas other than urban areas. The number of traffic accidents in urban areas was thus 82.2 times that in rural areas. The number of deaths per 100 sq. kilometers was 46.1 in urban areas, which was 22 times that in rural areas. Urban areas accounted for 85.8 percent of nighttime traffic accidents, 78.0 percent of traffic accidents caused by elderly motorists, and 83.9 percent of accidents involving children.

Despite this, the same traffic safety policy is applied to both urban and rural areas in Korea. The government simply set the speed limit on major thoroughfare at 60 kilometers per hour and neighborhood roads at 30 kilometers per hour.

Germany and Sweden applies a speed limit of 50 kilometers per hour when a vehicle enters urban areas. “Korea has to define the scope of urban areas according to local environment, and reduce the speed limit accordingly,” said Kim Sang-ok, a researcher at Samsung Traffic Safety Research Institute. “Korea must establish driving environment in line with such conditions, and toughen punishment (for violation).”

Hyung-Seok Seo skytree08@donga.com