By Beatrice Thomas
Current rate in 7100 deaths each year
Saudi’s atrocious road safety record could spiral to 4 million accidents a year by 2030 unless there is better discipline by motorists and enforcement of traffic laws, it was reported.
And it comes amid predictions that a person will die on Saudi roads every hour in 2014 if the country’s accident rate continues at its current pace.
According to a study by Hany Hassan, assistant professor of transportation engineering at King Saud University, there were 600,000 crashes recorded in the Kingdom in 2012, resulting in the death of around 7,638 people, the Arab News reports.
On average there are 7,100 road fatalities every year with 38,000 people seriously injured, including seven percent permanently disabled.
The rate equates to 23 deaths per 100,000 people, with an average 19.1 road fatalities occurring daily.
According to World Health Organisation data, the Saudi road toll in 2010 was 29 per 100,000 people.
This compared to 16.9 in Kuwait, 12.1 in Bahrain, 23.7 in Qatar and 21.3 in Oman.
Only the UAE fared worse, at 37.1 deaths per 100,000 people.
“It is really a matter of lack of discipline, and no doubt better enforcement of speed limits and traffic laws would help,” Glenn N. Havinoviski, associate vice president and transportation systems director of Middle East Operations, Iteris Inc, was reported as saying in the Arab News.
“When you see people turning left out of the far right lane and traffic cutting through parking lots and frontage roads, there are clearly some issues with discipline.
He said there was also the issue of enforcement.
“Live police enforcement, as opposed to just cameras, is helpful,” he said.
Havinoviski reportedly said there was a need to manage safety rather than just lumping safety and security together with technology.
He said whether it was stricter driving schools or regular testing for drivers when they renewed their licenses, there needed to be a culture of safety introduced in the Kingdom.
“The infrastructure to me is not the problem, but I see in urban areas that lane markings and the operation of traffic signals could be improved,” Havinoviski was reported as saying.
“Without clear lane markings, roads can be haphazard to travel on. People driving off-road to avoid congestion, which I've seen in Jeddah, is another example of bad behavior.”
The Arab News said experts predicted that if the current rate of traffic accidents continued, the Kingdom may have 4 million accidents a year by 2030.
Recently, the Council of Ministers approved the National Strategic Plan for Traffic Safety, which included a national traffic safety policy specifying broad future traffic plans and measures to cut road accidents.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Saudi it is the culture and arrogance that causes all the accidents that can be easily avoided. No implementation of any rules by police either. It is not going to change in the near future.
I am surprised Qatar, the emerging state is right behind.
UAE is even worst. So called modern city of Dubai would be contributing a good share of the accidents I bet.
A lot of the problems stem from a blatant disregard for road rules and fellow road users. Everyday there seems to be cars racing through red lights at excessive speed which places not only the driver at risk but also any unfortunate person who may be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It also saddens and frustrates me to see unrestrained children sitting either on their parents' lap, even when one of them may be the driver, or when they are leaning out the windows of cars. For goodness sake put them in a child restraint or at least put a seatbelt on them. Also, stay in your lane, get off your mobile phone, try not to turn from three or even four lanes wide and show a little bit of patience. If you need to be somewhere leave a bit earlier to ensure you get there safely and on time. The police should get also unroadworthy cars off the road, they can't be that hard to spot! Under no circumstances should children be allowed to drive regardless of the situation.