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Driver kills 10-year-old girl in Kakheti

28 April 2017
Georgia Alliance For Safe Roads protests increased number of traffic accidents in Tbilisi (Sulkhan Bordzikashvili/OC Media)

A 10-year-old girl died in a car accident in the village of Jimiti, in the eastern Georgian region of Kakheti, on 27 April. The child suffered severe injuries and died on the way to the hospital.

A car hit the child as she was trying to cross the road in front of her school.

An investigation has been launched for ‘violation of the rules of traffic safety leading to loss of human life’, which carries a possible sentence of 4–7 years in prison.

Five days ago, on 23 April, six people died, and one was hospitalised in a massive accident on the Kuaisi-Samtredia bypass, in western Georgia. According to Channel 1, two cars crashed into each other, and were then hit by a lorry. One of the victims was a seven-months pregnant woman. Police are investigating the crash.

Accidents have occurred frequently on the Kuaisi-Samtredia bypass since it opened in the autumn of 2014. This is especially acute in a section where two roads merge, with inadequate and confusing markings leading to head on collisions. There is also no proper lighting on the road.

The Ministry of Infrastructure claims that the bypass, which is 41 km long, is absolutely safe. However, they plan to install lighting in the next two months as well as construct an additional lane soon.

According to the head of the Transport and Roads Association, a local road safety group, Davit Meskhishvili, 48 people died in road accidents in January 2017 alone, and around 1,400 people were injured.

Meskhishvili says that one of the main reasons for the frequency of accidents is that there is no body responsible for traffic safety in Georgia, and police can only react to accidents after they happen. The second is that infrastructure is often poor, and there many ‘black spots’ on roads, where accidents occur frequently, like the Kutaisi bypass, and it is necessary to study these sections.

According to the World Health Organisation report for 2015, Georgia had the highest rate of deaths from road accidents in Europe (163.6 per 1 million inhabitants). Twenty-four percent of road deaths in Georgia are pedestrians.

[Read more: Georgia’s deadly roads]

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