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Thu 22 Apr 2010 08:22 AM

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Saudi hospitals struggling to cope with traffic victims

One third of hospital beds are occupied by people injured on the kingdom's roads.

Saudi hospitals struggling to cope with traffic victims
DANGER DRIVER: Reckless driving is the cause of 60 percent of Saudi road accidents. (Getty Images)

Saudi Arabian hospitals are struggling to cope with the huge number of people injured in road traffic accidents, top officials have warned.

About one third of all hospital beds in the kingdom are occupied by road accident victims, Ali Al-Ghamdi, professor of traffic and transport engineering at King Saud University, told a press conference in Jeddah.

The former chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee estimated the annual cost of road accidents to be SR26bn – about four percent of the country’s gross domestic product, Arab News reports on Thursday.

His comments were backed up by the Health Minister Dr Abdullah Al-Rabeeah who called for urgent action to reduce the number of people harmed on the kingdom’s roads.

According to the report 275,000 people are injured in road traffic accidents each year, while 6,000 people are killed. This equals 500 deaths a month or about 16 a day, Al-Rabeeah said.

Reckless driving is the main cause of accidents, accounting for 60 percent of the total, while running red lights causes 34 percent of accidents.

“The fall in road accidents will have a positive impact on public health facilities in the country,” the paper quoted Al-Rabeeah as saying.

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harry dee 10 years ago

I'm sorry, I do not understand. Why are they concerned?There is no control on speeding, dangerous lane changes, tailgating, turning at lights from wrong lanes, ignoring red lights, ignoring give way at intersections, and all the other normal road rules that make driving safe - so why show concern when accidents happen? There is no visible police prescence on the roads, no rerason at all to obey safety rules - what else do you expect? That people will just behave themselves without any type of enforcement? I know where youre coming from, and its called cloud cuckoo land.

Naved Akhter 10 years ago

I believe nothing is going to change until people start abiding the traffic rules and normal civic ‎behaviors. I had an incident recently while passing through an under construction under-pass. ‎It was a single lane track opened for the commuters. I was trying to be in the limit of the ‎prescribed speed when a local driver in Prado started tailgating me and pushed me to increase ‎the speed which I did a bit. Once we are out of the under-pass and stopped by a traffic signal ‎he started, first staring at me and then yelling why I was going so slowly. When I reminded him ‎about the prescribed speed, he said it is his country and he is free to do whatever he thinks fit, ‎and to my surprise said I am Expatriate and have to go back to my country. He even did not ‎bothered about the normal decency culture and tried to verbally abuse me, though I was with ‎my family. Unfortunate!! All I can say.‎

Adnan Malik 10 years ago

You made a mistake, you should have recited the Hadiths by our Prophet that there is no difference between Arab and Non arab except in his deeds. This should have shut him up !!

Saeed 10 years ago

I am somehow not surprisd by Naved's story. People even justify jumping red signals by saying "Its my country" !!

elmer 10 years ago

It is not surprising to hear everyday about this traffic accidents, me for instance, got involved in traffic accidents in that country because of the way the saudis drive their vehicles, I can say they dont mind causing harm to other people, they just want to get ahead of anyone on the road like they are in a racing track, they want to be always having a special road treatment because its their country. Qatar is much better because of its strict traffic rules and everyone gets fined in every violation especially in crossing the red light which carries a 6000 Qr fine speeding carries a 500qr fine plus 100qr per 10kmh additional speed... better apply some stiff fines in KSA too. now i am driveing in qatar accident free in 2 years.

cidpusa 9 years ago

Seems like they have no regard for their life Afghans are the worlds worst drivers

Dr Imran Khan CIDPUSA 9 years ago

The best way to help reduce speeding is by using more rest stops and have regular signs on their roads about saftey.

The Saudi Roads are without signs and empty no rest areas

James 9 years ago

Maybe the answer is simple - allow Saudi woman to drive!!

Omar A. AlSadoon 9 years ago

James, I don't see the relation between reckless driving and fatality rates with allowing a certain gender to drive.

Unless you're trying to say women drive better.

I haven't read that report, but I believe the vast majority of those accidents are on interstate roads. (roads connecting cities).