With reporting from Riham Sheble
At least four people have been killed and 15 others injured in a spate of car accidents this week, spurring calls from residents for improved road safety in Qatar.
One crash took place during the early hours of Saturday morning, killing two residents and injuring four. And at least three car accidents occurred on Sunday alone, killing two people and injuring 11.
Road accidents are a leading cause of death in Qatar. Despite efforts from authorities to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries from such crashes, many residents say bad driving continues to be a big problem on the nation’s roads.
Two Filipinos killed
Around 1:30am Saturday morning, six Filipina expats were involved in a car accident on their way home, and two of them died, the Philippines embassy told Doha News.
It is unclear why their vehicle crashed, but the women, ages 33 and 35 years old, were killed at the scene and the driver, along with the remaining four passengers, was wounded.
The women were on their way home after finishing their late-night shifts as caterers at a wedding function in Al Kharityat. Their staff accommodation was located along Shamal Road, near the location of the function.
The driver and the passengers were rushed to Hamad Hospital’s Emergency Department to receive urgent treatment, with one Filipino sustaining serious head injuries. She is currently under care at Hamad’s Intensive Care Unit.
Two of the passengers have several fractures and are also under treatment, and one was recently discharged to recuperate at home.
The driver is also said to be injured and under Hamad’s care. His injuries are not too severe, according to an embassy representative.
A full report is yet to be released, but the embassy said that there appears to be no other car involved. The driver, who is from Egypt, will be questioned upon his recovery.
‘Too many innocent people’
The deadly accident comes weeks after five Filipinos were killed in a car accident after being struck by a young local driver who had no driver’s license or car insurance, and whose vehicle had racked up 44 traffic violations over a period of 13 months.
The driver was reported by the traffic department to be speeding when he hit the family’s parked car, causing it to erupt in flames and burn the passengers inside.
The tragedy caused a heated debate among residents on social media about Qatar’s perilous roads and a lack of authoritative monitoring.
Reflecting on the two critical accidents, a Philippines embassy representative recently sent out a reminder to its nationals, telling Doha News:
“Please, please be extra cautious — as a driver, passenger and even a pedestrian. The number of vehicle related accidents are only rising and too many people are losing their lives. It’s saddening. Too many innocent people are being killed on the road.”
Separately, at least three car accidents took place on Sunday, taking the lives of two and injuring as many as 11 people, according to an Al Raya report.
According to the newspaper, in one of the accidents, the driver of a Land Cruiser swerved out of control along Salwa Road, causing the car to crash into a workshop located on the busy strip of shops at the side of the road.
Both the driver and one of the workshop’s mechanics were killed, and one mechanic was injured in the accident, which took place around 6:30am.
Al Raya did not mention the nationalities of those involved, but a Pakistan embassy representative told Doha News that the mechanic killed was from Pakistan.
The embassy confirmed that the 36 year-old mechanic suffered “multi-trauma injuries” and paperwork is now being done to ensure his body is repatriated.
The second accident also involved a motorist who lost control of his Land Cruiser. While no one was killed at the scene of the crash at a construction site off of D-Ring Road, six people were severely injured, including the driver himself, Al Raya reports.
The newspaper stated that for unknown reasons, the driver suddenly swerved off the road and drove into an excavation next to the Kahramaa building, where several construction workers were working on site.
Five construction workers and the driver suffered extensive injuries. One of those involved was a Qatari citizen, according to Al Raya.
Sunday’s third car accident involved the collision of two cars in Al Mamourah at 8:30pm. Four residents were involved in the accident and all of them were injured.
Speaking to Doha News, a Palestinian embassy representative confirmed that three of the residents involved were Palestinian nationals.
Those involved in Sunday’s three car accidents were all rushed to Hamad Hospital’s Emergency Department as police attended to the scene, according to Al Raya’s report.
Amid ongoing discussion about Qatar’s road woes, one of the country’s top traffic police officers said this week that distracted driving is one of the top reasons for traffic accidents here.
Speaking to Doha News, Brig. Mohammed Saad Al-Kharji, the director-general of Qatar’s traffic department, said:
“(In the case of) more than 80 percent of the accidents, they are using their mobile.”
To tackle that problem, several Qatar-based firms have launched apps that lock a motorist’s phone while a vehicle is in motion.
In another attempt to curb road accidents, a number of new officers are expected to complete their training in the coming weeks and begin patrolling Qatar’s roads and highways, as well as be stationed on foot at certain intersections, Al-Kharji added.
And finally, additional road surveillance cameras have also been strategically placed in recent times and new, advanced road radars are currently being installed across the country.