Statistics issued at the end of Road Safety Week in Turkey suggest driving is a little safer than it was in 2018.
In all, 593 people lost their lives in accidents across the country in the first four months of this year, 41% fewer than in the same period 12 months before.
Another 74,889 people were injured which is also a 14% drop on 2018.
But the police are hoping fresh initiatives carried out as part of Road Safety Week this month will help to drive the figures down further, with public displays and awareness campaigns held in Muğla and projects with school children in Seydikemer taking road safety messages to younger generations.
Meanwhile, in Bodrum, motorcyclists caught not wearing helmets were not punished by traffic police but given one for free – as long as they promised to use it.
However, not all drivers have been treated so leniently by police in 2019 with TL 937.3 million handed out in fines. More than 36,000 motorists have been punished for drink-driving, while 231,635 vehicles have been taken off the roads for being in a dangerous condition.
New fines were also introduced at the end of last year which impose a TL 1,002 penalty for speeding,
Exceeding the speed limit five times in a year now results in the confiscation of the offender’s licence. Motorists whose licence is confiscated twice within five years can be banned from driving indefinitely, or at least until they pass a psychiatric evaluation.
Boy racers performing spins and drifts face a fine of up to TL 5,010 while drivers using a cell phone can also face a TL 235 fine.
Other fines under the new system also cover drivers not stopping at red lights and those endangering road safety by rapidly switching lanes.
However, a focus announced by the government’s Interior Ministry has been to make Turkey’s roads safer for pedestrians, with all police officers, regardless of their unit, now given the authority to fine drivers considered to be violating pedestrians’ rights.