Evo interesantnog clanka-
Belgrade - After a black series of road accidents that has seen fatalities mounting on a daily basis in Belgrade, speeding as been firmly established as the leading cause of death on Serbian roads.
The authorities now hope to reverse the trend of reckless driving with a new draconian law, aimed at reducing fatalities, injuries and damage. But at the moment, horrible scenes are a daily spectacle on the roads.
A Turkish man and his mother cling to each other on the side of the highway through Belgrade, crying over broken bodies of a pregnant woman and an infant who were flung from their overturned BMW jeep, halfway through their 3000-kilometre holiday return trip to Belgium.
The driver lost control while driving twice as fast as the 80 kilometres-per-hour speed limit allows. The casualties were his wife and daughter.
A woman hysterically screams, sitting on wet pavement in downtown Belgrade and looking at a bleeding stump where her arm was before an out-of-control, stolen Mercedes veered across the median strip and smashed head-on into the little Skoda she was travelling in.
The four unsuspecting people in the Skoda and the driver of the Mercedes were gravely injured September 18 in the collision, while the 16-year-old passenger in the stolen car was instantly killed.
A smashed body of a young motorcycle driver lies crumpled by a construction fence, while a middle-aged driver is semiconscious and bleeding in a car effectively cut in two by the two-wheeler.
The car driver took a left turn, not suspecting that the dot of light he saw ahead was an 180 horsepower bike blazing toward him at around 200 kilometres per hour, though in a 50-kilometre-zone in the city.
Those were just some of the scenes of havoc caused by speeding in Belgrade over the past month. Outside the city, the situation remains even deadlier.
Overall, 444 people were killed and 9,800 were injured in the first three quarters of 2006 in Serbia, most in accidents directly related to speeding, then to other violations, police said.
The ratio of deaths to the number of inhabitants, 7.5 million, paints a picture that is brighter than the reality, as Serbia has far fewer cars per 100 people than Western countries, which set the safety standards.
Entire families have been wiped out, as on the Novi Sad highway, when a van swerved right and killed a couple with two children on their way to the Montenegrin coast.
On another occasion, on a dangerous spot where the road opens after winding through twisty gorge, five youths were killed when they smashed into a truck while overtaking across a full line.
The horrific accidents reflect the driving style of many in Serbia, a country which recently, after years of neglect, started getting better - and faster - roads and cars.
Driving discipline did not even remotely follow the improvement of the infrastructure. At least in the main corridors, the narrow, potholed roads were replaced with expanded, smooth surfacing.
Also, new crediting possibilities allowed many Serbs to replace their ancient, battered cars with something better and faster, something that may have spurred tragic overconfidence in some.
'Most accidents were caused by the human factor,' chief of the Serbian traffic police, Blagoje Milinic, said recently. 'It's driving too fast, ignoring traffic lights and other violations, or alcohol.'
An old Belgrade joke says taxi drivers wait at crossroads on green lights: 'A colleague will drive through red.' Public transport buses and trams run the lights as regularly as regular drivers.
Warily, pedestrians eye drivers who stopped to allow them across the street - risking their back-ends and willing to endure impatient honking from behind.
On country roads, the unbroken white line means little not just to the mean jeeps associated with mobsters and politicians, but also buses.
The cutting of corners takes on a literal meaning as drivers of lesser vehicles are forced to duck to the shoulder in the face of Scania or Volvo logos above the huge bumpers.
At the moment, the fines are laughably low for many - the absolutely highest is equivalent of 400 dollars. But the new traffic law, which is due to be enacted by the end of the year, would dramatically increase the fines as a deterrent.
Along with the draconian fines, the western-style points system and measures against traffic hooliganism, it would in some cases even allow the permanent confiscation of a vehicle from an offender.