Launched by the Federal Roads Office (OFROU) in association with the Swiss government, Via Sicura is a comprehensive and bold initiative rolled out in Switzerland, as part of the Federal Road Traffic Act (LCR). Working closely with various cantonal and communal authorities and organizations specialized in road safety, this program aims to intensify efforts to prevent road accidents.
Via Sicura was born out of growing concern regarding the frequency of road accidents, serious injuries, and deaths in Switzerland. Although Switzerland’s road safety record is one of the best in Europe, a slight increase in certain categories of accidents has been noted, highlighting the need for new strategies to preserve and improve road safety.
Implemented in 2013, the Via Sicura program merges legislative, educational, and technological strategies to significantly decrease fatal and serious incidents on Swiss roads. Based on an in-depth analysis of the causes and contributing factors to road accidents in Switzerland, the program aims to address these issues in an organized and coordinated manner.
Via Sicura is shaped by the belief that road safety goes beyond mere regulations and sanctions, requiring a holistic approach. It establishes that the responsibility for road safety is a shared one between drivers, authorities, urban planners, and engineers, and aspires to establish a culture of road safety involving all concerned parties.
Objectives and principles of Via Sicura
The Via Sicura program aims to radically revolutionize road safety in Switzerland. Several major principles and objectives guide its deployment, detailed below.
Primarily, Via Sicura aspires to drastically reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on Swiss roads. Although Switzerland already has a good road safety record, the government seeks to go even further in minimizing incidents and fatalities. It particularly targets accidents caused by speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, and other dangerous behaviors at the wheel.
The core of Via Sicura lies in revising and expanding existing legislation. The Road Traffic Act (LCR) has been modified to strengthen penalties for serious offenses and introduce new safety measures. This includes more stringent sanctions for drunk driving, enhanced speed limits in certain areas, and increased accountability for professional drivers.
The third aspect of Via Sicura centers on technological innovation in traffic management and improving road infrastructure. This encompasses the implementation of advanced traffic monitoring systems, the use of technology to monitor speed and driving behavior, and investments in road infrastructure to enhance the safety of roads and intersections. Moreover, the program encourages cooperation between vehicle manufacturers, regulatory authorities, and safety experts to integrate the latest technologies into new vehicles.
Lastly, Via Sicura emphasizes education and awareness. It recognizes that road safety cannot be achieved solely through laws and technology but also through educating the public about the dangers of negligent driving and the importance of road safety. It aims not only to penalize dangerous behaviors but also to educate drivers about the risks and repercussions of their actions. The program launches awareness campaigns that seek to instill a culture of road safety and to make everyone conscious of the role they play in creating a safe road environment. Via Sicura also intensifies training programs for new drivers, imposing more rigorous mandatory training and promoting advanced courses for experienced drivers.
Key measures of Via Sicura
Via Sicura has initiated a set of comprehensive measures to improve road safety in Switzerland, touching various domains, each contributing to a different aspect of road safety.
Firstly, Via Sicura has instituted heavier penalties for serious offenses such as driving under influence, speeding, and negligent driving. This includes increased fines, but also the possibility of imprisonment for repeat offenders and those who commit particularly serious offenses. By intensifying the consequences of these dangerous behaviors, the goal is to discourage drivers from taking unnecessary risks that endanger the lives of others.
Furthermore, the program has facilitated the revocation of driving licenses in cases of dangerous driving. The suspension of the license can now be implemented more swiftly and in a broader range of cases, with mechanisms in place to prevent drivers whose licenses have been revoked from continuing to drive illegally. This aims to remove dangerous drivers from the roads and ensure that those who have shown poor judgment or incompetence are reassessed before being allowed to drive again.
Via Sicura has also enhanced the requirements for driver training, including the expansion of mandatory courses for new drivers, accompanied by stricter assessments of their skills and understanding of traffic rules. Continuous training is also encouraged, offering incentives for drivers to update their skills and improve their driving through advanced courses.
The program has further deployed significant improvements in road infrastructure, including redesigning dangerous intersections, widening roads, and improving lighting and signage. These structural changes aim to prevent accidents by making roads safer and more accessible, thereby reducing the risks of collisions and other incidents.
Special emphasis has been placed on protecting vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists. Reduced speed zones have been established in residential areas and near schools to lower the risks of accidents involving pedestrians. Similarly, separate bike lanes and well-marked pedestrian crossings have been introduced to offer better protection to cyclists and pedestrians.
Impact of Via Sicura
Since its launch in 2013, the Via Sicura program has had a notable impact on road safety in Switzerland. According to various studies and statistics, it has contributed to a significant reduction in the number of accidents, serious injuries, and deaths on Swiss roads. The measures taken have succeeded in establishing a stronger culture of road safety, with more aware and responsible drivers on the roads.
Nonetheless, the program remains under constant evaluation, with ongoing adjustments and improvements to ensure its long-term success. Swiss authorities continue to work closely with road safety experts, research organizations, and international partners to monitor the effectiveness of the program and to develop future strategies based on the latest data and analysis.
In summary, Via Sicura represents a determined and well-coordinated effort by the Swiss government to address the ongoing challenges of road safety. Through enhanced legislative measures, technological and infrastructural improvements, and educational initiatives, the program aspires to create a safer and more protective road environment for all road users in Switzerland.