Police Perspectives on Road Safety and Transport Politics in Germany
Road safety is a key concern of transport governance. In the European Union, a Road Safety Programme was adopted in 2011, with the objective to reduce road deaths in Europe by 50% in the period from 2011 to 2020. Evidence suggests, however, that this goal will not be met. Against this background, this paper investigates police perspectives on traffic laws, traffic behaviour, and transport policy.
Police officers working with road safety are in a unique position to evaluate and judge the efficiency of road safety policies, as they record traffic offences, fine, investigate, and witness in court. Geographically, focus is on transport policy in Germany, a country with a dense road network, high levels of car ownership, and a large number of car manufacturers. A total of 14 semi-structured interviews were carried out with police officers in a wide variety of positions within the traffic police in Freiburg. Thematic analysis is used to analyse content and to identify aspects that represent major areas of concern. Officers affirm that traffic laws question traffic safety, for instance with regard to speed and speed limits, or elderly drivers. Specific recommendations for changes in transport policies are made, and results are discussed in the context of their implications for road safety and the European Union’s Road Safety Programme