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Rettungsgasse makes sense say Austrians

A new study into the Rettungsgasse  has shown that 82 per cent of Austrians think it 'makes sense'.

The Rettungsgasse - which means that when there is a queue in the traffic cars have to move as far to the side of the road as possible to allow a passageway in the middle for emergency services to get through faster - has been in place for nearly one year.

Even though 82 per cent of the 3,000 motorists asked as part of the study say it is is a good idea and makes sense 30 per cent of those asked say that the system doesn't always work and there are often problems creating the passage in the traffic.

The new law was introduced on January 1st 2012, there is still no information about its efficiency but feedback from emergency services has been positive.

The motorists were asked about their opinions on the Rettungsgasse in November 2011 before it was introduced then again in July 2012 and November 2012.

According to the results 82 per cent of motorists find that the idea makes sense for road safety but many admit it does not always work.

In November 2011 73 per cent of the people asked had heard the word Rettungsgasse - which translates literally as 'Rescue Pathway'.

One year later 98 per cent of those asked knew what it was.

Before the new law was introduced 92 per cent of those asked thought it was a good idea to introduce the new law. But in November 2012 it was only 82 per cent.

When asked if they knew what to do to create the 'rettungsgasse' 94 per cent of those answered - 'yes definitely or 'yes  - in theory'

But when asked for a concrete answer as to when to form the queue only eight of ten answered correctly.

The queue should be formed when traffic slows down and queues on the motorway.

Othmar Thann from the Kuratorium für Verkehrssicherhe said: "Over half of the drivers have been in a situation where they have had to form the queue on the motorway to leave a passageway in the middle.

53 per cent of  these people said it worked well or very well. 16 per cent said it sometimes worked and 30 per cent said it didn't work so well or worked badly.

The most frequent complaints were that people didn't abide by the rules or were too late pulling over.

At a press conference held by the emergency services Martin Germ from the traffic services at the Interior Ministry said: "The rule is now well known and is mostly abided by.

Werner Kerschbaum General Secretary of the Austrian Red Cross said: "There are no other alternatives which would work as well.

The organisations claim more education and explanation is needed for motorists.

Armin Blutsch, vice President of the Austrian fire service said: "We have occasional problems, but in general it saves us vital minutes.

Reinhard Hundsmüller, from the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bundes Österreich. "Our emergency vehicles are at accidents quicker and more safely.

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