The number of fatal crashes in Switzerland fell in 2010, but the number remains too high, a new report has said.

 

"/> The number of fatal crashes in Switzerland fell in 2010, but the number remains too high, a new report has said.

 

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TRAVEL

High number of accidents on Swiss roads

The number of fatal crashes in Switzerland fell in 2010, but the number remains too high, a new report has said.

 

The Swiss Accident Prevention Bureau said an average of 180 people die and 1,800 are critically injured in road accidents across the country every year.

Collisions with fixed objects, such as trees or walls close to the road, are responsible for 35 percent of accidents, while rear-bumper crashes account for 16 percent of cases. Frontal crashes are estimated to be 12 percent of the total number of accidents, the bureau said.

The 253-page study also focuses on how to improve road safety in the country, stressing the need to remove all objects that get too close to roads and the need to carry out regular maintenance work. The study also calls for a more widespread use of assisted driving devices and for a better understanding of road conditions and safety measures for drivers.

The main causes of road accidents included excessive speed and alcohol abuse, as well as distractions while at the wheel. Lack of proper lightning at intersections and uncoordinated traffic lights are also cited in the research. 

DRIVING

Reader question: Can I take the Swiss driving test in English?

There are quite a few things to learn and remember when taking an exam for a driver’s licence, and it's even more daunting in a foreign language. These are the rules in Switzerland.

Reader question: Can I take the Swiss driving test in English?

Whether you’re learning to drive in Switzerland or already have a licence from your home country but have to exchange it for a Swiss one (as you must do after 12 months of residency), you will have to take a test — certainly in the former case and likely in the latter one.

The rule is that if your licence was issued by a EU or EFTA country (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), you’ll be able to get a Swiss licence without having to take a driving test.

READ MORE: How to change over to a Swiss driver’s licence

This also generally applies to countries with which Switzerland has concluded an agreement to mutually recognise each others’ licences: Andorra, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Morocco,  Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, Singapore, Taiwan, Tunisia, and the United States.

Nationals of all other countries — that is, whose foreign driver’s licences can’t be automatically exchanged for a Swiss one — will have to take a test.

What you should know:

The Swiss driving test includes a written exam and a practical road test. There is no such thing as a national test, with each canton administering tests and issuing licences (which, of course, are then valid across the country).

Applications for the theory and the practical exams are made at your local Road Traffic Office (Strassenverkehrsamt in German, Office Cantonal des Automobiles et de la Navigation in French, and Servizio della circolazione e della navigazione in Italian). 

Addresses and contact information for each cantonal office can be found here.

Can you take the test in English?

In most cantons, theory exams are given in one of the national languages (German, French and Italian). Only a few — Bern, Glarus, Solothurn, St. Gallen, Thurgau, Neuchâtel, Schwyz, Vaud and Zurich — offer the theory test in English.

If you don’t live in one of these nine cantons and you are not fluent enough in German/French/Italian to take the test, a translator may be present, but only one who is certified by your local Road Traffic Office. Contact the department to ask where and how to find a suitable interpreter.

As for the practical driving test, you can request an English-speaking examiner, but there is no guarantee that you’ll get one.

EXPLAINED: How visitors to Switzerland can avoid driving penalties

At the very least, you should learn basic driving terms — such as right and left turns, lane change, parking instructions, etc. — in the local language.

These will be taught to you if you take your driving lessons in German, French, or Italian (rather than English), which may prove more difficult to begin with, but will prove useful when the time comes to pass your exams.

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