Czech police crackdown on bad drivers

04-11-2003

This morning, Czech police launched yet another nationwide crackdown against the country's notoriously dangerous drivers. The crackdown is reminiscent of last month's operation called Krystof, which paradoxically coincided with thirty road accident deaths. Although not as grand in scale as the last operation, the latest move is another signal to Czech drivers that they are not above the law.

In last month's operation Krystof police stopped more than 350, 000 cars. It was estimated at the end of September and October that for every 3rd car stopped by police a driver had committed a driving offence. Police spokesperson Andrea Filipova says that Czech police will not be focusing on one concrete problem.

"State police will of course focus on all aspects of road safety, including speeding, drunk driving, automobile conditions, validity of driving licenses, etc."

Though there are less police participating in this operation, forces from various sectors of the interior ministry will be involved - such as boarder control and criminal investigators. But, in the daily Pravo the shadow Interior Minister Ivan Langer of the right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party warns not to be fooled by the grandeur of such operations. In his opinion the police and their top commanders have already proven their incompetence and he sees such operations as nothing more than spectacle.

The cultural shift in the attitude towards road safety will of course take time. But police have been criticized for such operations being little more than band-aid solutions - that once the operation comes to a close drivers resume their old patterns. But spokesperson Filipova says that police will not disclose how long the operation will last. She says it will continue as long as it takes to achieve safety on the streets, though in practical terms that's far from likely. Undisclosed sources have already told one Czech news agency the heightened police alert has only been scheduled till Saturday night.

04-11-2003