by Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, March 5 (Xinhua) -- A week after Greek society was shocked by a tragic accident on a national highway which left four young people dead, the deaths of two more youths in separate accidents this weekend enhanced calls for a more effective national strategy on road safety.
A 19-year-old man was killed on Sunday when he lost control of the car he was driving and crashed on a wall at the outskirts of Herakleion city on Crete island.
On Saturday, a 14-year-old girl died in hospital after being hit by a car while crossing the road in a small town in northern Greece.
The 18-year-old driver of the car did not have a driving license, police said. Skid marks left by tires on the site of the accident also revealed that he was driving above the speed limit.
Last Sunday, a Porsche driven by the 24-year-old son of a famous Greek businessman at about 200 km per hour on the national highway connecting Athens to Thessaloniki smashed on a car parked at a rest area.
The Porsche's driver, his friend, as well as the 33-year-old woman and the child who were inside the parked vehicle, lost their lives.
Following the latest incidents, medical associations and road safety experts called for the swift drafting of a comprehensive national plan to correct Greece's poor safety record and prevent further tragedies.
"Car accidents are a plague for our country. Thousands of Greeks are killed or injured on the roads each year, and in their majority victims are young people," Yorgos Patoulis, president of the Athens Medical Association, told an Athens forum.
"On average five Greeks lose their lives, 20 are left disabled and 60 more slightly injured each day nationwide. Car accident is the leading cause of death of Greeks aged between 15 and 29, the second cause of death for kids aged between 5 and 14 and the third leading cause for Greeks aged between 30 and 44," road safety expert Tassos Markouizos told local SKAI TV, pointing to the gloomy official statistics.
Each year, about 1,700 people are killed in road accidents across Greece. According to Eurostat, Greece ranks third after Romania and Lithuania in the rates of deadly road accidents across Europe.
Markouizos and other experts attributed the high rates of road accidents in Greece mainly to reckless driving, speeding, consumption of alcohol and use of mobile phone while driving.
They called for more educational campaigns for the youth and better monitoring of the roads by authorities. Most major roads in Greece lack radar cameras to monitor vehicles breaking the speed limit, they noted.