Every day on my way to work I drive past a French language version of this poster and smile to myself, and not just because at 6.45am, which is the time I go to work, I quite fancy a little snooze.
Switzerland is such a civilized country, nobody needs bossing about, or frightening with those graphic TV adverts that we get in France, with some small child crying and covered in blood, emotionally blackmailing anyone with an inch of compassion into driving in a more responsible fashion.
This is a country which features a hippy like angel in one of its road safety posters, telling people to “slow down”. They even employed an angel a couple of years ago to encourage a warm community feeling of slow driving and taking care.
That’s not to say they don’t have radars, and you would have to mortgage your child to pay for the hefty fines these things hand out (and yes I am speaking from personal experience here but don’t tell my dad!);however a lot of the radars merely inform you of your speed on a flashing screen. Presumably this is enough to shame any Swiss person into behaving himself.
I love the suggestion that alcohol will make you a bit sleepy, none of the nanny-state reports about which days you’re allowed to drink on or not.
Before you ask to see the statistics, here they are; according to the WHO Global Safety report on road safety in 2007 France had a whopping 4,620 road fatalities, the UK 3,298, and Switzerland 370. Don’t bother complaining that the populations differ widely, that works out at 7.49%, 5.4% and 1.9% respectively.
I’m not sure however, if this means that the moral of the story is to assume people can handle their own safety in a responsible manner instead of bossing them about, or whether in fact we should be taking any lessons at all from a country that has recently voted in referendums NOT to increase paid holidays from 4 to 6 weeks, AND not to legislate on paid maternity leave.