After several years of decline in the number of traffic accidents and casualties on Croatian roads, 2015 saw an increase in both and the trend has continued this year, a round table on road traffic safety in Croatia, organised by the Safety in Traffic association, said earlier this week.
Of the European Union's 28 member states, Croatia was ranked 25th in traffic safety.
Miron Huljak of the Police Directorate said 348 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2015, up 40 percent on the year. He said the situation could be improved through joint prevention efforts by the police and associations.
In 2014, there were 7.2 casualties in traffic accidents per 100,000 inhabitants, while in 2015 there were 8.1, although the expected rate was 7.5 according to the National Traffic Safety Plan.
Huljak said back seat passengers, cyclists, motorcyclists and moped drivers were especially vulnerable. He said only a negligible number of back seat passengers in Croatia put the belt on. "Those who do so, do it only to avoid a fine."
Safety in Traffic association president Zeljko Marusic said drivers, vehicles and roads should be taken into consideration when it came to road traffic safety.
He said Croatia had invested a lot in the road infrastructure in proportion to its size and GDP but road monitoring must continue, notably the setting up of security cameras. "It's very bad that our vehicles got older, from an average age of 9,9 years in 2009 to about 13 years. If this continues, the trends will be even worse."