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Statistics released on Salzburgs Ghost Drivers

There were 24 instances of people driving on the wrong side of the road in Salzburg last year, according to statistics gathered by Austrian Radio station 3.

Although rare in most countries, for some reason there are almost daily reports of motorists known as "Geisterfahrer" or Ghost Drivers who drive on the wrong side of the road in the Alpine Republic.

A survey carried out by The Austrian Traffic Club (VC) said that despite the danger on 96 per cent of the reports no accidents were caused by this serious breach of road regulations.

When accidents did happen however they were usually severe with every sixth accident involving a fatality.

Since 1987 a total of 105 people have died as the result of people driving on the wrong side of the road. Most people guilty of this are male, and under the influence of alcohol.

The most deaths from collisions caused by cars driving towards each other due to the folly of one driver occurred in Lower Austria, which has seen 38 people die since 1987. Styria had the second highest number of fatalities at 30, while 12 lives were lost in Salzburg during the same period.

"The typical driver is male and usually is above both the speed limit and allowed blood alcohol level" said an expert from the VC.

Eight out of every 10 people caught driving the wrong way down busy roads are male, 50 per cent are between the ages of 21 and 40, and the majority are drunk. The VC are calling for more checks around motorways.

In 2010 the most incidents of wrong-way driving took place on the A2 South Motorway, while the most dangerous spot was in Upper Austria on the A1 West Motorway between Vorchdorf and Mondsee, where 18 such drivers were spotted. In Salzburg the hotspot for so-called "Geisterfahrer" was on the Tauern Motorway between Pass Lueg and Flachau, where 10 such incidents occurred.

Austrian Times

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