Drunk driving and speeding carries heavy fines in Reykjavik. Paved roads are 55mph limit.
Good reminders. And in addition, seat belt use in Iceland is compulsory for all occupants in a vehicle, and the driver is held at fault for driving without everyone belted in. We learned this after witnessing a fatal road accident in Iceland in 2015, where a car hit black ice and flipped, throwing out one passenger, and the car then landed on him. It was a VW Golf, designed to hold 5 people, but the ejected passenger was the sixth person in the car.
Impaired driving, whether due to alcohol, some other substance, or a fixation on one’s mobile phone, can have devastating circumstances.
I found driving in Iceland to be challenging even without chemical impairment - and my experiences were in July, so weather extremes did not play a role. Due to some very poor logistics planning on my part, upon returning our rented vehicle at KEF (a VW Polo) we had five hours of wait time prior to our departure to Oslo. While inside the terminal, a representative from the Icelandic Tourist Board approached us and asked if we were willing to answer a few questions about our stay in her country. We obliged. This interview lasted quite a bit longer than I expected, but it was also quite interesting. When the question about car rental came up, there were a series of follow up questions regarding where we drove, how we evaluated the road conditions, traffic management signage, ease of use, etc. At this point, the interview turned into a conversation - the interviewer began to speak of the "problem rentals" that have become frequent by the various agencies who rent cars to travelers. According to our Icelandic Tourist representative, there is a lack of security regarding who can rent a car - including travelers who do not have a license to drive one. She explained that the tourist board has limited authority to enforce violations - that is left to traffic law enforcement - who are much more likely to become involved in a situation after an accident - many of which end in fatalities.
All of this occurred two years ago - hopefully some sort of regulation has been initiated. During the week we visited Iceland, it is my understanding there were three fatal traffic accidents all involving tourists and none stated alcohol or drugs were a factor......all three, however, involved drivers who were not licensed to operate a motor vehicle.
Wearing seat belts is compulsory in all the countries that I have visited in Europe.
At least one state in the USA only requires front seat passengers in cars to be belted in. And probably infants, I don’t know. On a bus pretty much anywhere, it’s just the driver wearing a seat belt.
On a bus pretty much anywhere, it’s just the driver wearing a seat
In several European countries, bus passengers are required to wear a seat belt if the bus is equipped with seat belts.
Badger, I guess I haven’t been on one of those buses. No standing allowed, either, then?
They tend to not allow standing passengers. But city buses are usually excluded from the rule.
The Greyline bus (coach) we rode in Iceland out to the country on a hot springs soak/dinner/Northern Lights package tour had no seat belts for passengers, as I recall. But our driver didn’t speed, and hadn’t been drinking 😊
I take a lot of inter-city buses in Europe. I don't keep track of where I have a seatbelt and where I do not, but these days they are very, very common. I don't remember any driver making a big deal about it, but I do notice and am happy to use the belt when it's there.
The bus driver usually reminded passengers about the seat belts when the law was new. But now I think they presume that the passengers are aware of the law. And it is not the driver that will be fined in case of a police check.