Arab Traffic Jam: Road Traffic Accidents Are Costing Arab States Billions of Dollars Annually, Not to Mention the Catastrophic Loss of Life. Now, from Morocco to the UAE, Governments Are Grappling to Reduce the Region's Notoriously High Rate of Traffic Fatalities
Martin, Josh, The Middle East
EVERY YEAR, STATISTICIANS IN THE Department of Neurosciences at the Armed Forces Hospital in Riyadh record a grim list of deaths. The list does not represent victims of terrorism, or soldiers fallen in battle. Rather, it is a total of the deaths which have occurred on Saudi Arabia's notoriously dangerous highways.
Last year, over 5,000 Saudis died in traffic accidents. Most were motorists who ignored basic traffic safety rules, such as using a signal when turning, maintaining safe speed, or using lights at night. The country's traffic accident fatality rate has soared, despite elaborate policing and major investment in street signals as well as post-accident medical facilities.
It is estimated that of all the deaths that occur in the kingdom's Ministry of Health hospitals, 81% are due to road traffic accidents. Saudi Arabia's experience is not unique: It reflects a mounting regional crisis. According to figures compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Arab world has only 2% of the world's motor vehicles, but records 6% of all traffic fatalities.
Conditions have become so bad that the Indian government recently issued warnings to its nationals about hazardous driving conditions in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.
The rising social and economic cost of these traffic deaths (over $6bn annually in Saudi Arabia alone), has prompted Arab governments to explore a number of …
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Publication information: Article title: Arab Traffic Jam: Road Traffic Accidents Are Costing Arab States Billions of Dollars Annually, Not to Mention the Catastrophic Loss of Life. Now, from Morocco to the UAE, Governments Are Grappling to Reduce the Region's Notoriously High Rate of Traffic Fatalities. Contributors: Martin, Josh - Author. Magazine title: The Middle East. Issue: 354 Publication date: March 2005. Page number: 44+. © 2009 IC Publications Ltd. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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