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Fewer deaths, more injuries, on Qatar’s roads in 2014

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Fewer people are dying on Qatar’s roads, even as thousands of new residents to the country climb behind the wheel each month, recently released government figures show.

While the lower death rate is welcome news, the raft of safety measures rolled out by authorities in recent years has failed to stem the rising number of serious injuries suffered in traffic accidents.

A monthly bulletin released by the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics (MDPS) says 23 people died in vehicle collisions in December 2014, bringing the total for the year to 222.

A separate MDPS document said there were 246 deaths in road accidents in 2013.

The decline in the number of deaths is even more significant when Qatar’s rising population is taken into account.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Using year-end population figures, that works out to approximately 9.93 road deaths per 100,000 residents in 2014, compared to 12.2 per 100,000 residents the previous year.

This means that Qatar is on track towards meeting its National Development Strategy goal of reducing traffic fatalities to 10 deaths per 100,000 residents by 2016.

However, the latest numbers also suggest that the country has yet to make significant progress towards meeting its ambitious targets set out in its National Road Safety Strategy.

While it welcomes lower road death rates, the strategy’s authors want to reduce the absolute number of fatalities to 130 by 2022.

The document also wants to cut the number of serious injuries by half, to 300 cases. But rather than decreasing, incidents of major injuries are actually on the rise.

There were 671 cases of major injuries resulted from traffic accidents last year, up from 642 in 2013.

Accounting for the Qatar’s growing population shows an improvement.

There were 30.02 cases of serious injuries per 100,000 residents in 2014, down slightly from 31.84 per 100,000 the previous year.

Building safer roads

Accident
For illustrative purposes only.

Recently published research by Qatar University shows that the number of accidents has outpaced population growth over the past 18 years.

The same report found that the vast majority of those killed on Qatar’s roads are young men between the ages of 20 and 30 years old with less than four years’ experience.

Separate research found that most serious collisions in Qatar occur on high-speed rural roads, which lack safety features to help prevent vehicles from running off the road or median separators to avoid head-on collisions, according to the country’s National Road Safety Strategy.

The report argues that streets should be designed so that drivers can anticipate the road ahead, which would help reduce the number of crashes. Roads should also be “forgiving,” so that when collisions do occur, they are less likely to result in serious or fatal injuries.

Examples include better-designed crash barriers, crosswalks and layout – such as banning on-street parking on high-speed roads.

The country’s public works authority, Ashghal, appears to be moving in this direction and has budgeted some QR600 million for a series of street safety improvement programs.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

However, local residents have said that they want to see a greater police presence and more stringent application of traffic laws to bring down the number of accidents on the country’s roads.

The government appears to have taken steps to boost enforcement efforts through the creation of a dedicated highway patrol unit and installing radar cameras to catch speeders.

Here’s a copy of the full report:

Qatar Monthly Statistics Bulletin – December 2014

Thoughts?

12 COMMENTS

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MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

I’m a bit bored by these stories, the police refuse to act like the police and actually intervene on dangerous driving sometimes right in front of their eyes, the senior figures in the traffic police and MOI come up with new initiatives and nice words for the papers every now and then and not all motorists are treated equally. People still die on the roads in huge numbers and even bigger numbers for serious injuries and I care even less each day.

If there was a follow up story in the Qatari kid that wiped out a Filipino family, (whose car was parked and not even on the road at the time) talking about the court case and severe punishment for death by dangerous driving it might peak my interest.

So for now I will just treat everyone on the road as an idiot and make my way to work as safe as I can.

Phoe
Phoe
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Oh yeah how come there have been no follow up to the Filipino family case? Whatever happened to the driver?

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

These articles are like a broken record of an annoying song. A follow up of the Filipino family would be interest to a lot of readers. Although I doubt there was any justice for that poor family.

wee_johnnie
wee_johnnie
6 years ago

Whilst the rate per 100,000 residents is useful for comparison, a lot of the increasing population do not drive and are taken around in work buses. Might be useful to see the rate per 100,000 licence holders and see if that is also going down….hopefully so.
There is very little street furniture and restraints/barriers that will stop a fast moving SUV or 4×4. Most are designed for impact by passenger cars. Designing for larger vehicles may make them more dangerous for others.
It’s not the roads that have to be forgiving, it’s the persons in charge of the motor vehicle that need to remember that the are driving a lethal weapon.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  wee_johnnie

I think the measure is usually fatalities per 100,000 motor vehicles rather than drivers or licence holders. Some countries are now starting to record per 1 billion vehicle kilometers. Doesn’t matter which way you measure it though the ideal is always lower though you have to keep in mind less fatalities can mean more injuries (often very bad) because of better trauma response etc. Either way the numbers are not great here however you look at it and a very long way behind western europe.

Green Hornet
Green Hornet
6 years ago

I don’t know if any of those who should read people’s comments actually read this section. The real problem is not in the roads; or at least 99% isn’t. It is in the people driving, the law not being enforced, the lack of respect, lack of knowledge, lack of awareness, people knowing people who make things disappear, considering everyone behind wheels as equals regardless of their nationalities and last names. I am not being “the regular nagging expact” as some call us. These are facts and I’m stating them for the best of everyone. If Ashghal’s motto is Qatar deserves best, then start working accordingly. No need to spend millions of Riyals on new systems/devices/tools/apps… Just enforce the law and everyone will be happy (almost!). Everything will change: less youth death rates, less stress, less car accidents… I lost count of the numbers I lost it while driving and I keep reminding myself that my heart, blood pressure and I are the ones at risk here not the other party. I and many don’t want to be mere numbers in statistics… Do something!

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Green Hornet

Bloody expact

Green Hornet
Green Hornet
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Very civilized! Well done!

Elkhorn
Elkhorn
6 years ago

Greater police presence will always trump radar cameras (unless they are placed every 500 meters – but will again be ineffective during heavy traffic). And it will open up more employment opportunities for Qataris.

To cover the employment cost, they can institute an excise tax of 5 – 10 dirhams per liter of Gas and toll gates for additional measures.

And then institute a fleet management system that will monitor the vehicle locations to ensure that the police are dispersed properly and are at least providing a sufficient level of presence to deter violations.

This proposal hopefully can resolve so many issues…

Abood
Abood
6 years ago

My solution to this problem is simple. Stop subsidizing petrol. Good for government since oil prices are down, good for our safety on the roads since less people will be driving. The bad side is prices of everything will go up.

Not Drinking The Cool-Aid
Not Drinking The Cool-Aid
6 years ago

the number of nails and debris from construction is surely not helping either

Yousef
Yousef
6 years ago

FACT : the LOCALS who have MONEY do NOT have any LAW applied to them and that is from over 48 years ….and the “ROYAL FAMILY” is ABOVE all LAWS.

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