02. tbl. 98. árg. 2012

Accidents on Iceland‘s most dangerous roads

Slys á hættulegustu vegum landsins

Objective:The objective of this paper was to identify the most dangerous segments of the Icelandic road system in terms of the number of accidents pr km and the rate of accidents pr million km travelled. First to identify the segments where the number of accidents is highest and where the risk of the individual traveller is the greatest. Second to evaluate if the association between the number and the rate of accidents is positive or negative. Third to identify the road segments that are the most dangerous in the sense of many accidents and great risk to individual travellers.

Material and methods: Main roads outside urban centers were divided into 45 segments that wer  e on average 78 km in length. Infrequently travelled roads and roads within urban centers were omitted. Information on the length of roads, traffic density and number of accidents was used to calculate the number of accidents per km and the rate of accidents per million km travelled. The correlation between the number and rate of accidents was calculated and the most dangerous road segments were identified by the average rank order on both dimensions.

Results: Most accidents pr km occurred on the main roads to and from the capital region, but also east towards Hvolsvöllur, north towards Akureyri and in the Mideast region of the country. The rate of accidents pr million km travelled was highest in the northeast region, in northern Snæfellsnes and in the Westfjords. The most dangerous roads on both dimensions were in Mideast, northern Westfjords, in the north between Blönduós and Akureyri and in northern Snæfellsnes.

Conclusion:  Most accidents pr km occurred on roads with a low accident rate pr million km travelled. It is therefore possible to reduce accidents the most by increasing road safety where it is already the greatest but that would however increase inequalities in road safety. Policy development in transportation is therefore in part a question of priorities in healthcare. Individual equality in safety and health are not always fully compatible with economic concerns and the interests of the majority.

Bjarnason Th, Arnarsson S
Faculty of sociology, University of Akureyri

Table I. Seriousness of accidents on Icelandic roads 2007-2010.

Table II. Recorded accidents on 45 road segments outside urban areas by region 2007-2010.

Table III. Twenty road sections outside urban areas with highest number of accidents pr. km 2007-2010.

Table IV. Twenty road sections outside urban areas with highest rate of accidents pr. million km 2007-2010.

Table V. Twenty most dangerous road sections outside urban areas pr. km 2007-2010.


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