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Suicide prevention

The Swedish Transport Administration work actively to reduce the number of suicides in the road transport system including suicide preventive measures on bridges.

Suicide is a major health problem and affects a large part of the population. In addition to the personal tragedies, suicide also affects professional working groups and imposes costs on society. In Sweden, approximately 1500 persons per year die due to suicide; some use the road system to commit suicide.

Since 2010, Sweden has been presenting statistics on suicides in road traffic separately from fatalities caused by accidents, using a specially developed method. Suicide accounts for a significant proportion (10 per cent) of road traffic fatalities.

In September 2016, the Swedish government relaunched the Vision Zero initiative which states that suicide in the transport system is a problem that also must be addressed within the traffic safety work. Preventive measures in order to reduce fatalities in road traffic, intentional or accidental, are in line with Vision Zero.

Preventive measures

Restricting access to means of suicide is effective in preventing suicide, and suicide prevention measures on roads are beneficial for all road users.

Collision in high speed against a solid object in the road side area can be avoided by putting up guard rails or by removing the solid object. Rebuilding roads to so-called 2+1 roads will reduce the number of fatal head-on collisions. Erecting fences or barriers along high speed roads in urban areas will make it harder for pedestrians to carry on with a suicidal attempt and will also prevent persons from being tempted to take a dangerous shortcut. Installing high fences on bridges and viaducts will increase the safety for all pedestrians and will also prevent sabotage in form of throwing down objects.

The Swedish road and bridge design guidelines have been updated to make sure that suicide preventive measures are included in the design of new roads and bridges.