The number of automobile accidents involving foreign tourists has never been higher, RÚV reports. The first six months of this year, the number of foreign tourists injured in car accidents has increased by 40 percent compared with the same period last year. (Their numbers went from 85 to 143.) Half of those accidents involve cars running off the road or overturning. Those kinds of accidents are much more common among foreign tourists (46 percent of all accidents involving foreign tourists) than they are among Icelanders (28 percent of all accidents involving Icelanders).
Sævar Helgi Lárusson, specialist on the Investigating Committee of Accidents in Transportation, says that as the number of foreign tourists increases, so do accidents in which they are involved.
“Typically, a fatal accident involving a foreign tourist happens when one wheel lands on the shoulder of the road, the driver tries to correct the course, and ends up overturning the vehicle, resulting in a passenger, oftentimes without a seatbelt, being seriously injured or killed.”
The numbers of foreign tourists involved in automobile accidents has been steadily rising since 2012, when they were 193. Sævar believes more turnouts are needed on busy roads.
The Icelandic Transport Authority believes most accidents involving foreign tourists can be explained by their inexperience with the typical Icelandic conditions: gravel roads, icy roads, one-lane bridges, sheep crossing the road, etc. Furthermore, the use of seatbelts is not nearly as common among foreign tourists as it is among Icelanders.