Saturday, 20 August 2022

Big Brother is Watching: 1700 Cameras Placed Along Croatian Roads

August the 20th, 2022 - There have been 1700 brand new cameras placed along Croatian roads, and with numerous traffic accidents occurring every year, with that number heightened during the main summer tourist season, it's worth knowing about the systems put in place along Croatian roads.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, each and every tourist season, especially during its very peak, traffic accidents occur up and down the country on Croatian roads. This isn't remotely surprising given the intensity of the traffic at that time of year, it also shouldn't come as much of a shock because of the level of fatigue and the loss of concentration of drivers who sometimes sit behind the wheel without a break for much longer than they would otherwise. Accidents often occur because drivers put everything else aside, such as rest, in order to reach their destination as soon as possible. In such unfortunate cases, instead of enjoying the summer break, they often experience a tragedy on the road.

That's why it's good to know a little more about highway traffic camera systems that help respond to crisis situations along Croatian roads. Croatian Motorways (HAC) have now initiated the implementation of a new traffic information system on their roads, as part of which more than 1,700 digital cameras will be installed for a brand new video surveillance and video detection system, writes HAK Revija.hr.

"As part of this wider project, analog cameras will be replaced by new digital and more technologically advanced ones. The new cameras will be able to detect potentially dangerous situations quickly and more safely, such as instances of people driving in the opposite direction, a car which had stopped, pedestrians on the road, and owing to that, there will be a faster reaction involved informing other road users about the event, the location, and the current road conditions.

Automatic incident detection (AID) alert the employees at the Traffic Monitoring and Safety Centres (CNUP), located along the entire highway network, straight away. AID triggers an audible alarm in the event of an incident, automatically shows the location of the incident to the operator and records everything. In addition to the incidents already mentioned, AID warns of traffic congestion, slow vehicles and any loss of visibility. An alarm sounds in the tunnel when a loss of camera visibility due to the appearance of smoke due to a fire is detected," Croatian Motorways explained.

As stated by Croatian Motoeways, the new Crocodile 2 Croatia (Cro 2 Cro) traffic control and management system is part of the wider Crocodile project, which was launched at the European Union level. The introduction of this system will ensure the coordinated management and the proper control of traffic and see Croatia become part of the integrated ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) on European Union road routes.

What's the procedure from the moment the cameras record a crisis situation to its resolution?

"In the case of an extraordinary event, the operators at CNUP initiate the notification procedure in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedure and call the emergency services (112, and if necessary, the police, emergency medical assistance, the fire department, the patrol service, the water authority inspectors, and hunting authorities). Upon the alarm being sounded because of an extraordinary event, and in accordance with its classification, an algorithm and scenario are automatically launched, which sets adequate traffic signals on light-changing signs in order to inform other road users who might encounter the event in a timely manner about it, telling them to adjust the speed of their vehicle. The public is then also informed about the state and conditions on the road through HAK and HAC's websites,'' they stated from Croatian Motorways.

Then, upon arrival at the scene of the event, the same is ensured by the patrol service with adequate temporary regulation of traffic, until the extraordinary event is declared over.

"In the case of the need to remove the vehicle, a contractual contractor will be called to come to the scene in question and take the vehicle away. In the event of the need to close a section of the nighway, a corresponding protocol will be initiated and mutual communication is carried out between the managers of public Croatian roads in order to activate the appropriate traffic boards to guide detour traffic as soon as possible and allow the same traffic to flow," they noted.

When asked how much time passes on average from the event being recorded by the cameras to the reaction of the appropriate emergency services and their arrival at the scene, they stated from HAC that upon receiving the sounded alarm, the emergency and operational services are called without delay and they arrive at the scene very quickly.

For more on driving in Croatia, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Croatian Motorways Issues Advice as Another Busy Weekend is Upon Us

August the 13th, 2022 - The height of the scorching summer tourist season is now well and truly upon us, and with more and more foreign visitors entering the country either by air and then hiring cars, or by road through Croatia's many land borders, Croatian Motorways (HAC) has issued some advice to all those using the country's roads to head to their various destinations, usually on the coast.

Yet another busy summer weekend is upon us, and with an absolutely tragic accident involving a bus recently, which took the lives of several individuals, Croatian Motorways has made sure to make Croatia's road users aware of some of the realities of driving here at this wildly busy time of the year.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, during the busy summer season here in Croatia, hundreds of thousands of vehicles enter the country, which increases the risk of accidents, some of which are fatal. The head of the Centre for the Supervision and Management of Motorway Traffic, Davor Bicanic, appealed to drivers to enable the creation of a so-called emergency corridor, as reported by HRT.

''All important information from Croatian motorways and roads, especially from critical sections, such as tunnels, arrives in real time to the control room of Croatian Motorways. We're currently implementing a traffic information system, as part of which we're replacing old analog cameras with new, more technologically advanced digital cameras, around 1,700 cameras are working at this moment in time,'' Bicanic pointed out.

"This new system has the possibility of providing automatic video detection of certain incident situations, such as people driving in the opposite direction, a pedestrian being on the motorway, a vehicle which has stopped on the road, and so on. Automatic video detection enables our operators working within the traffic control and management centres to react faster and provide the latest information to other road users who find themselves on the Croatian motorways and roads which have been affected,'' he added.

When it comes to the seemingly eternal problem of terrible accidents and some absurd moves being made by arrogantly over-confident drivers, Bicanic said that it would be nice if an emergency corridor became a routine for drivers using Croatian motorways.

"An emergency corridor enables the passage of emergency medical aid vehicles, firefighters and the police, to reach the scenes of traffic accidents as soon as possible and to provide assistance to the victims involved. The emergency corridor is formed so that vehicles in the left traffic lane move as far to the left as possible, and vehicles in the right traffic lane move as far to the right as possible. For the drivers, it's a small shift, but that shift means a corridor towards remaining alive for a critically injured person,'' stressed Bicanic.

For more on Croatian motorways and driving in Croatia, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 30 July 2022

New Croatian Road Rules in Force Today: Here's What's Changed

July the 30th, 2022 - There are some brand new Croatian road rules in force as of today, so let's take a look into what's changing.

As Index vijesti writes, new Croatian road rules are in force today following amendments to the Law on Amendments to the Law on Road Traffic Safety, which introduces significant innovations in the legal regulations in the field of road traffic safety across the country.

It regards some comprehensive changes to the umbrella legal regulation on driving in Croatia, for which detailed preliminary analyses were made in order to improve existing practices from every perspective necessary for greater safety and more practical driving conditions, and all related professions and institutions were consulted during the drafting process as were people and road users themselves, they stated from the Ministry of the Interior (MUP).

Below are some of the most important changes to the Croatian road rules

New categories of vehicles – Personal means of transport such as electric scooters, etc

For the first time ever, the participation of electric scooters, electric unicycles, segways and the like on the country's road system has been fully and legally regulated. They have been classified into a special category of vehicles, for which a common name - a personal means of transport - was introduced.

A personal means of transport is a vehicle that isn't classified in any vehicle category in accordance with special regulations. It doesn't have a seat, and the working volume of its engine isn't greater than 25 cm³, the continuous power of the electric motor isn't stronger than 0.6 kW and when on a flat road, it doesn't develop a speed greater than 25 km/h. This of course regards self-balancing vehicles, such as unicycle with motor or electric drives, scooters with motor or electric drives, etc.).

Due to this new definition of the aforementioned means of transport and the introduction of a new term for it, other provisions of the Act relating to their safe participation in traffic have also been adjusted. The new law prescribes the right and manner of using the surfaces on which they can travel and the conditions that must be met by these vehicles and their drivers when using the roads.

Additionally, drivers of these so-called ''personal vehicles'', as well as bike riders, in accordance with the new Law, may not drive their vehicle using headphones, as this would reduce their ability to react quickly and safely drive the vehicle with their full focus. In case of a violation of the prescribed obligation, a sanction is prescribed, i.e. a fine in the amount of 300 kuna.

The new Act additionally prescribes areas where the driver is obliged to adjust the speed of their vehicle. As such, there are so-called ''other surfaces'' so that these new regulations, at least in that part, would also be applicable to new categories of vehicles, i.e. to vehicles which fall into the ''personal means of transport'' category. In addition, the new Croatian road rules allow drivers (category B) to drive motorised tricycles in Croatia, but this is subject to certain conditions.

The temporary incapacity to drive and the obligation of a doctor

The amendment to Article 233 introduces an obligation for all doctors, i.e. the doctor who examined or treated the driver or the patient's chosen doctor (GP) to warn the driver of their temporary incapacity, which cannot be longer than six months. Doctors are obliged to record the given warning in the patient's medical documentation.

After the expiration of the period of the driver's temporary incapacity, the driver will not be referred for another medical examination, and misdemeanor sanctions are prescribed for doctors who fail to notify the driver of their temporary incapacity to drive and who fail to properly record this information in the patient's medical documentation.

Sanctions are also in force for drivers who drive a vehicle on the road when they have been issued a doctor's warning about a temporary health condition which stops them from doing so.

However, it's important point out that the provisions on the temporary incapacity of the driver to drive a vehicle will come into force on the day of the adoption of amendments to the Ordinance on health examinations of drivers and candidates for drivers, which is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health.

A deadline has been set for the Health Minister (Vili Beros), with the prior consent of the Interior Minister (Davor Bozinovic) to harmonise the Ordinance on health examinations of drivers and candidates for drivers ("Official Gazette/Narodne Novine", no. 137/15, 132/17 and 10/20) with the provisions of this Act within 12 months from the date of entry into force of this Act.

In relation to safety and health factors, the new Croatian road rules prescribe a sanction of 300 kuna for a driver choosing to drive a vehicle without a first aid kit in it when using the road, in accordance with the rulebook (pravilnik) prescribing the technical conditions of vehicles participating in road traffic.

A corridor for the passage of emergency vehicles

Crisis situations over the last two years have shown insufficient prominence and knowledge of the necessary reactions of road users in order to allow emergency vehicles and personnel uninhibited, urgent access to incident locations as easily and quickly as possible.

Therefore, these new Croatian road rules clearly define the need for a corridor for the passage of emergency services vehicles on roads with more than two traffic lanes in the event of an incident situation. This will be done in order for drivers to acquire the understanding of the need for the move, and to alter driving culture itself in the sense of there needing to be a uniform way of ensuring a safe corridor for the passage of emergency services vehicles. The corridor defined by the Law is uniform with other member states of the European Union.

An introduction of new terms and higher fines for speeding

New terms as part of new Croatian road rules have also been defined, such as "traffic zone in a protected cultural-historical entity'', ''contact zone", "assistive pedestrian means", "rider" and "automated vehicle".

For the first time, the participation of ''riders'' in road traffic has been regulated, and a new term has been introduced that describes a fully automated vehicle, i.e. a vehicle that can move along the road without the presence of a driver (a fully automated vehicle without a steering wheel).

In this regard, a sanction has also been prescribed for drivers who use vehicles with built-in driver assistance systems (partially automated vehicles) in such a way that the vehicle steers independently, and at the same time, i.e. while driving, the drivers don't even sit in the driver's seat, which means that they aren't in the proper ''form'' to react quickly in unexpected situations or unforeseen circumstances.

In addition, these new Croatian road laws regulate the ban on parking vehicles in places intended only for the charging of electric vehicles and enable the sanctioning of negligent drivers, as well as the relocation of vehicles that don't use charging services and are parked in places intended only for charging electric vehicles.

In accordance with the examples from practice, the obligation to submit credible data about the person who was driving the vehicle at the requested time has also been changed or expanded.

Namely, according to the new Croatian road rules, the user of a vehicle is required to provide reliable information about the person who was driving the vehicle at the time of the offense at the request of a police officer or an official from a local self-government unit. Since the current amount of the fine seems to have failed to deter drivers from committing violations, the new Croatian road rules have seen an increase in the amount of the fine issued for speed violations (which is most often imposed in the event of a traffic accident) from 500 kuna to 1,000 kuna.

Other important changes

The latest amendments to the Law also clarify the provisions of the article of the Act that refer to the responsibilities of a person who has access to dual controls of a vehicle during a driving test. In addition, license plates with red and green numbers and letters have been abolished.

It has been made much easier for both legal or natural persons to carry out the work they are engaged in (the production, upgrading, servicing, transport or retail sale of vehicles), i.e. the use of portable/removable license plates is now permitted for the purposes of transporting vehicles to their place of technical inspection and vehicle registration, for which until now, the use of test license plates was prescribed.

Persons who have completed at least an undergraduate university study or an undergraduate professional study, lasting three years in the traffic department (urban), are now allowed to perform the work of vehicle technical inspection supervisor and the work of vehicle testing and documentation processing, considering the compatibility of the education programme for the mentioned professions.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 17 July 2022

Average Vehicle Age in Croatia at Nearly 15 Years

ZAGREB, 17 July 2022 - The average age of vehicles in Croatia in the first half of 2022 was 14.74 years, and nearly 70% of the vehicles were 10 or more years old, the Croatian Centre for Vehicles reported earlier this week.

In the first six months of this year, there were 1,244,465 registered vehicles in Croatia.

As many as 68.14% of them were 10 or more years old, while 14.73% were between six and nine years old and 12.79% were between two and five years old.

Only 4.33% were up to one year old.

By comparison, the average vehicle age was 14.18 years in 2020 and 14.34 years in 2021.

"Although we hope that this number will fall by the end of the year, the increasing average age of vehicles in Croatia shows the importance of regular vehicle maintenance and technical inspection," said Tomislav Škreblin from the Centre for Vehicles.

Most of the newly-registered vehicles were passenger cars -- 54,429, of which 23,777 were new and 30,652 were used vehicles. 50% of them were powered by diesel and 35% by petrol, while 9.9% were hybrid vehicles.

Only 2.35% were fuelled by petrol and LPG, 1.32% were electric vehicles, 1.11% were hybrid vehicles with external charging, 0.02% were fuelled by petrol and natural gas, and 0.0018% only by natural gas.

Utility vehicles predominantly used diesel fuel as well.

There was a considerable increase in the number of new hybrid passenger cars, accounting for around 21% of the newly-registered vehicles in the first half of 2022. On the other hand, used hybrid passenger cars accounted for only 2.4% of the newly-registered vehicles.

A total of 5,419 hybrid vehicles, 605 hybrid vehicles with external charges and 721 electric vehicles were registered in the first half of the year.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Digital Supercameras, New Video Surveillance Coming to Croatian Roads

May the 26th, 2022 - A large number of brand new supercameras and an entirely new and modern system are set to be installed along Croatian roads as part of an EU project.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as part of the modernisation of the entire system, a new video surveillance and video detection system will be introduced on Croatian, which will involve 1,727 brand new digital supercameras.

“Like any new system before it's commissioned, this one must pass a test phase and the validation process in order to make sure that it will react in a timely manner in real conditions. Given that the system is in a phase when it isn't possible to postpone implementation and testing, this is the only possible time period before the main tourist season when it can be implemented, and so that everything is ready by the end of 2022,'' a Croatian roads (HAC) statement said.

The closure of individual sections of motorways

During the implementation and testing of this new equipment, in order to preserve traffic safety and road users, there will be frequent closures of certain sections of the A1 motorway for all traffic. That traffic will be diverted to bypass routes during the closure, HAC said.

Crocodile 2 Croatia (Cro 2 Cro)

The new traffic control and management system Crocodile 2 Croatia (Cro 2 Cro) is part of the Crocodile project launched at the European Union (EU) level, writes HAC.

“The introduction of this system on Croatian roads will ensure coordinated traffic management and control, making the country become part of the integrated ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) on European roads. The new system will make it much easier for users to plan their travel and get information. The project is being co-financed by the European Union,'' they added.

What will the new cameras on Croatian roads be able to do?

“Along with the implementation of the new traffic information system, a new video surveillance and video detection system will be installed, which will significantly raise the level of road safety.

Analog cameras will be replaced by new digital and more technologically advanced ones. The new cameras will be able to detect potentially dangerous situations faster and more safely (such as when people are driving in the opposite direction, when there's a stopped vehicle, when there's a pedestrian on the road, etc.), and will as such provide a faster reaction in order to inform users about the event,'' concluded HAC.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Good News for Drivers: No Croatian Road Toll Increase This Summer

May the 21st, 2022 - Good news for drivers from both home and abroad this summer as Croatian road toll fees aren't set to increase. There will also be an innovative new way of paying which hopes to streamline the process.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, according to a report from Net.hr, this year, just like the previous two pandemic-dominated years, in order to support the tourist season, the seasonal Croatian road toll increase of 10 percent will not be introduced.

The move comes as welcome news as we approach summer and as the cost to drive continues to be an issue for road users, with inflation continuing to force fuel prices up and making a full tank an expensive commodity.

"The measure of assistance to bus carriers also remains in force, meaning the application of the additional discount of seven percent for EURO 6 vehicles is being extended, which with the existing discount of 42.4 percent, amounts to almost 50 percent of the Croatian road toll price," they explained from HAC when dicussing this summer's plans for the country's motorways.

Hrvatske autoceste (Croatian roads) confirmed that activities are underway to prepare the public procurement of a new toll collection system to make things easier, as well.

"A tender will be announced at some point this year, and according to current estimates, the system could be completed by the year 2024," they stated from HAC.

The new toll collection system will be based on ''free flow'', without stopping any of the vehicles using the roads, and will be carried out with contactless payment methods. The system will enable a simpler and more technologically modern way of paying Croatian road toll fees, and will also increase the flow of traffic at toll stations so as not to cause traffic jams, bottlenecks or delays.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Krk Bridge Surface Roads to Finally be Completed Within 2 Weeks

May the 8th, 2022 - Precisely when will Krk bridge and its surface roads be completed? The issues faced in this regard by many drivers from both at home and from abroad will soon come to an end, it seems.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the now two-year ordeal faced by drivers travelling across the Krk bridge should be over in a mere ten days at the latest, because the works on the road surface will be completed by the end of next week.

The works on Krk bridge kicked off as part of a larger comprehensive renovation which was started back in 2020, and vehicle traffic on the bridge will soon be released in both directions, as reported by Novi list.

This was confirmed by Sanjin Velebit Pesut, chief engineer at Hrvatske Autoceste/Croatian Motorways (HAC) who is in charge of the reconstruction project. Pesut said that the works on the reconstruction of parts of the surface will be completed twenty days before the agreed deadline, and the entire renovation project will end up being completed about four months earlier than expected.

The works on Krk bridge, which is used by countless drivers each and every year, with traffic becoming even more strong during the height of the summer tourist season, are worth an enormous 55 million kuna, including VAT.

They've been being carried out by a consortium of Croatian companies, including Sitolor, Spegra and Geotehnika. They began back in September 2020 at the large port, and last autumn, they continued at the small port of the bridge between the islands of Sveti Marko and Krk itself.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 23 April 2022

Old Part of Zagreb's Vlaska Street to Become Pedestrian Zone

April the 23rd, 2022 - The old part of Zagreb's Vlaska Street is set to become an exclusively pedestrian zone. This move comes as more and more plans are in the works to expand the heart of the capital's pedestrian zones and to gradually eliminate traffic in certain areas.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the old part of Vlaska Street, between Draskoviceva and Palmoticeva, is set to become an exclusively pedestrian zone, which will be welcome news to some, and a source of irritation to others. The profession is worried that the move will create traffic jams on other roads in the centre, while the City of Zagreb says that this is just the beginning of the expansion of pedestrian zones in the very centre of the city.

The project of adapting that part of Stara Vlaska (the old part of Vlaska Street) into a zone intended only for pedestrians starts on May the 28th and has been conceived in different phases:

"In the first phase, road traffic will be closed and the installation of planters with trees will begin, which will also be benches. The terraces of the cafes will remain as they are now, and we will bring some stands in for craftsmen. We'll mark the opening of the pedestrian zone with a concert and children from three nearby schools will draw on the pavements, with the help of some local street artists,'' said Deputy Mayor Luka Korlaet.

He added, according to a report from HRT, that about 10 parking spaces on that stretch of Vlaska Street will be abolished. Assistant professor Marko Sevrovic from the Institute for Traffic Planning pointed out two problems of such an intervention when it comes to traffic:

“What will happen to the vehicles that use that street to head to the east? If you're going from the north and want to go east, you'll have to go all the way down to Djordjiceva. Now the question is how this will affect the traffic there. Traffic is very similar to liquid - if you close it off somewhere, it will just go somewhere else. In addition to that, there's the issue of the pedestrian crossing on Palmoticeva. There will be two separate pedestrian zones with a very busy Palmoticeva between them in this case,'' he said.

A traffic light is offered as a solution for crossing what will then be a very busy Palmoticeva.

This is just the beginning of work on expanding the pedestrian zones in Zagreb's bustling and always busy city centre, and Korlaet concluded the following:

"The plan is also to turn Masarykova Street, so the entire promenade stretching to the Croatian National Theatre, into a pedestrian zone."

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Number of New Cars Registered in Croatia Rises by 17.5 Percent

April the 20th, 2022 - The number of brand new cars being registered in the Republic of Croatia has increased by 17.5 percent, at least according to the last available data which is for 2021.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, last year, there were 2.38 million registered road vehicles in the Republic of Croatia, which is 3.2 percent more than back in 2020, with 1.8 million passenger cars registered with an increase of 2.8 percent, and the first (initial) registrations of passenger cars increased by 17.5 percent compared to 2020, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).

Last year, 151,680 road vehicles were registered for the first time, which is an increase of 14.4 percent compared to 2020.

Unlike the 2020 results, when the decline in the number of road vehicles registered for the first time in this country was directly affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, last year saw the registrations of all types of vehicles across the country, with the exception of mopeds.

The first registrations of personal vehicles last year across the country stood at 112,345, equal to 17.5 percent more than the year before when there were 95,577 of the same. The increase is a result of the increase in the number of first registrations of new cars (26.1 percent) and used vehicles (14 percent). The increase in the number of cars on the roads has also unfortunately resulted in a higher number of traffic accidents.

According to CBS data, in 2021 there were 9,146 traffic accidents across the country with casualties, which is an increase of 18.6 percent compared to 2020, when 7,710 were registered.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Croatian Fuel Prices Shoot Up Once Again, Here Are The New Costs

April the 19th, 2022 - Inflation is still causing tremendous issues across the board in the Republic of Croatia, and rising Croatian fuel prices have been one of the most talked about problems over the last few weeks.

This morning, Croatian fuel prices shot up once again after having fallen to more respectable levels a couple of weeks ago. This morning, diesel in particular is 28 lipa more expensive than it was last night. Here are the new prices if you want to fill your tank in this countru as of today.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian fuel prices on sale across the country's many fuel stations has risen once again since midnight.

One litre of Eurosuper 95, which was below 12 kuna last week, now costs 12.19 kuna. In the premium version, the price has risen from 13.16 to 13.67 kuna. A full 50-litre fuel tank is as such 11 kuna more expensive now than it was last night.

A full diesel tank, on the other hand, is 12 and a half kuna more expensive than it was yesterday. A litre of diesel is 28 lipa more expensive this morning than it was at midnight last night and costs 12.70 kuna, while in its premium variants, it costs over 14 kuna.

Depending on the point of sale, a litre of autogas now stands between 6.89 kuna and 7.19 kuna as of this morning.

For more on Croatian fuel prices and inflation as this fluid situation changes, make sure to check out our dedicated news section.

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