Remark: better roads, wiser cars, higher fines? Why is Norway doing so great?

Just one person died as a result of traffic accidents across all age groups in Oslo in 2019. For the first time ever, no children under the age of 16 died in traffic at all in Norway in the whole of 2019.

These excellent news spread worldwide, and countries were thinking about what Norway does that others are failing in.

No doubt, the richer the country, the safer it can also be. Better road quality, a good system of cycling routes and newer and better cars overall – these aspects all play an essential role in cutting the number of accidents and fatalities. The latest cars avoid accidents themselves as they have automatic braking systems. Cars get wiser, and lives are saved.

But there is another aspect that sets Norway apart from all other European countries. A new study by driving institute Zutobi found that being 0.02 percent over the blood alcohol limit in Norway will cost you an eye-watering €5,783 at a minimum. In Latvia fines start from 20 euros. The lowest was in Czech Republic – from 19 euros.

Based on the overall economic situation, one can’t go too far in comparing these figures between countries. But 5783 and 20 euros are clearly showing different mentalities.

When a drink driving accident shakes up the society, people usually discuss whether the fines and punishments we give are severe enough. It’s never only the punishments that work, it’s a combination. But fines and penalties are also necessary.

Lauri Beekmann
executive director, NordAN