Slovenia to get highway patrol unit at the beginning of 2021
Ljubljana - A highway patrol unit is to be established in Slovenia at the beginning of next year in a bid to boost the enforcement of traffic rules and improve safety on the Slovenian motorway network. It is expected to eventually assume other duties as well, including prevention of crime and illegal migration.
The relevant agreement was signed in Ljubljana on Wednesday by Interior Minister Aleš Hojs, Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec, acting Police Commissioner Andrej Jurič and Valentin Hajdinjak, the chairman of the national motorway company DARS.
On the occasion, Hojs said he expected the highway patrol to start operating in the first months of next year. The new police department will be phased in in a few years.
In the first phase, it will perform only traffic control, while in the long run it is expected to gradually assume other elements of police work, such as crime investigation, search for suspects and prevention of illegal migration.
The seat of the Slovenian highway police will be in Postojna, while a total of five stations are expected to be established in the first phase, so that the entire motorway network in the country is properly covered.
At first, each station will feature 10-15 police officers and, together with the management, the entire division will number between 70 and 100 people. Once completed, it is expected to number more than a hundred officers, Hojs said.
"I believe that there will be much more order on Slovenian motorways, much fewer accidents and casualties," the minister added.
He also thinks that, as the number of criminal acts committed on Slovenian motorways is increasing, the unit will also contribute to the more effective investigation and prosecution of persons who commit these acts.
Welcoming the agreement, Vrtovec said the highway patrol unit would provide greater safety on the motorways and expressways, while also improving traffic flow.
He noted that heavy lorries will be banned from overtaking on the Slovenian A1 motorway between Šentilj (NE) and Koper (SW) in daytime from the new year.
"Certain limitations are already in force, but drivers do not respect them. The highway patrol unit will contribute greatly to lorry drivers sticking to these rules, which will also improve traffic flow and, after all, safety," Vrtovec said.
Jurič pointed to the data showing that traffic safety is deteriorating, including on motorways. "We predict that the highway police will make the control more efficient and more present," he said, adding that it would also be multi-dimensional.
The acting police commissioner said that police officers would be reassigned to the new department at first, while additional hiring was planned in the future phases.
Hajdinjak added that Slovenian motorways were overloaded, and that many drivers of heavy lorries were breaking rules while remaining unpunished.
After the mentioned ban on overtaking is introduced in January, the next step will be building a third traffic lane towards Ljubljana from the directions of Domžale (north-east) and Vrhnika (south-west).
"This will eliminate the unnecessary tailbacks and waiting in the morning and afternoon rush hours," he concluded.