The first such training will be offered to a group of officers from a NATO battalion-sized battle group based in the town of Orzysz, a police spokeswoman has said.
The classes will focus on traffic rules but will also include other regulations in Poland, according to Anna Szypczyńska, a spokeswoman for the police department in the nearby town of Pisz.
“We want to make sure that US soldiers – while travelling in their armoured vehicles or when driving civilian vehicles when off duty – are provided with information about the speed limits in Poland and about the rules governing alcohol consumption, for example about when police have the right to confiscate a driving licence,” she told the PAP news agency.
She added that roads in Poland’s Mazurian Lake District, where the soldiers are stationed, “are not highways;” they are narrow and winding and thus difficult for drivers, with many roadside trees.
The training will be purely theoretical and will not include practical driving instruction, according to Szypczyńska.
The US soldiers will also be informed about Poland’s criminal laws to “ensure the security of their stay” in the region, “especially during their free time outside the barracks,” she said.
“We want to tell them about offences that are punishable in Poland, such as drinking alcohol in public places or disturbing public order," Szypczyńska said.
According to the spokeswoman, the police first want to train the commanding officers, who are then expected to pass on the information to their men. “It will then turn out if further training is needed,” she said.
Police in Pisz say the planned training is purely “preventive in nature” as there have been no cases of police intervention involving NATO soldiers stationed in the area so far.
About 800 US soldiers have been stationed in Orzysz as part of a multinational NATO battalion-sized battle group since late March. The unit includes troops from Romania and Britain, with soldiers from Croatia expected to join as well.
Meanwhile, the media have reported that American soldiers stationed in other regions of Poland have been involved in a number of traffic incidents since they arrived in this country in early January.
In one recent collision, a military tanker truck rammed into a driving school car in the north-central city of Toruń in early April, according to the wiadomosci.wp.pl news website.
In a previous incident, a military tanker truck fell into a ditch and fuel had to be pumped out of it.
The most notorious case of NATO troops failing to be cautious on Polish roads was when two soldiers were slightly injured after tank projectiles fell onto the roadway in January. The Polish defence ministry later said the incident had occurred because the driver failed to adjust his speed to the road conditions.
Source: PAP, wiadomosci.wp.pl