According to statistics of roadside accidents, Hungary is becoming safer. Despite “performing” better than other middle and eastern European countries, recent cases of drivers running amok have shown the dark side of the roads.
Interestingly, while the number of deaths recorded in roadside accidents has been cut in half since 2001, the number of accidents on roads in Hungary hasn’t decreased over the past 10 years. Despite being well behind Western countries and worse than the EU average, driving in Hungary is considerably safer than in the majority of Middle and Eastern-European countries.
However, news is coming out nearly every day about drivers losing their mind while sitting behind the wheel. As a result, people failing to stop for police checks, or, despite the “zero-tolerance law,” choosing to drive drunk and under the influence of drugs, is causing accidents. In addition, some recent fatal cases remind us that driving culture still needs to develop in Hungary. While the reasons are multifaceted, some also speculate that legislation doesn’t know how to handle these type of infractions.
In March 2017, a drunk driver exceeding the speed limit crashed into a car stopped at a red light, killing two — among them a junior world-champion kayaker.
Later that year, a Mercedes-driver who reportedly has links to the underworld was traveling at 140 km/h when it hit a car that was turning irregularly, tossing it into a bus stop where it killing two people waiting there.
Contrary to the improved speed control methods and regular police checks, other minor cases also confirm that certain drivers don’t hesitate to put others in danger. In March of this year in Miskolc, a drunk driver, with his two children in the back seat, refused to stop for police. In his hearing, he claimed that although he has never had a license, “to a certain extent he does know the traffic signs.”
One month ago, a young driver refused to stop for a police check in Budapest’s 8th district and started a dangerous chase down the narrow streets of the neighborhood. And even more recently, this impatient Porsche seems not to care about others – automobilists and pedestrians alike – and instead of waiting for the green light, dangerously surpassed the queue.
featured image: police in Hejőpapi (30 kms south of Miskolc) at the scene of an accident which killed one; via Vajda János/ MTI