Whether it is a busy street or a remote village road, not being alert enough can cost you dearly while crossing the road in Turkey where traffic etiquette has long been a problem. A nationwide campaign launched by the Interior Ministry Wednesday is aiming to change the mindset of motorists who fail to acknowledge that roads are used by pedestrians too.
The "Right of way for life, right of way for pedestrians" campaign is underway in 81 provinces with local officials, police chiefs, students and people injured in traffic accidents distributing leaflets to motorists they stopped at pedestrian crossings.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu joined campaigners in capital Ankara's Kızılay Square. "People want the right of way, they want their right to be respected. We want to raise awareness about this issue and make people aware that as laws are amended to increase fines for those ignoring pedestrians, there should also be a change in the mindset of people ignoring them as well," Soylu said.
Some 1,681 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2017, the year with the latest available traffic accident data. Despite improved road conditions and more inspections by traffic police all across the country, traffic accidents claim the lives of thousands of people every year. In 2017, 7,727 people were killed in accidents on the road. Süleyman Soylu, however, noted a 36.5 percent drop in fatalities in the past three months compared to past years, linking it to increased inspection of motorists by police.