About 99% of all the traffic accidents in 2009 were of a minor nature, though there was an increase in the number of run-over deaths compared to the previous year, head of the Traffic Department Brigadier Mohamed Saad al-Kharji said yesterday.
Due to unknown reasons, there were 28 run-over deaths in November, leading to the sudden increase in the number of such deaths last year, he said.
Brigadier al-Kharji said that the Traffic Department was currently studying the factors behind this sudden increase in these accidents in November, adding that last month did not see any road accident death.
The official pointed out that due to the financial crisis there was a significant drop in the number of new vehicles registered during the first part of 2009. However, the situation returned to normal later.
“A total of 71,600 new vehicles were registered in 2009, compared to more than 100,000 in 2008”, he said, adding that “102,600 new driving licences were issued in 2009”.
Brigadier al-Kharji explained that although the number of run-over deaths has reached 222 in 2009, the ratio of deaths to accidents was still low as it was only 11 deaths for every 100,000 accidents, while the international average was 18.
The Industrial Area witnessed many accidents because of the weak infrastructure there.
“The Industrial Area lacks sidewalks, proper lighting at night and pedestrian crossings,” he said, adding that it was the Urban Planning and Development Authority and Ashghal’s responsibilities to co-operate with the Traffic Department to prevent accidents.
He said that the number of violations recorded through electronic devices like radars had decreased in 2009. The official maintained that this was due to the rise in awareness and the new stringent traffic law.
Al-Kharji said new timings for entry of trucks will be implemented next month. “Trucks and heavy vehicles will not be allowed to ply from 8am to 3pm on city roads.”
He said stern action would be taken against speeding. “Those who drive at speeds of 170km/h or above on main roads and at 100km/h or above in the neighbourhoods will be referred to courts. Some such cases are being heard by the courts,” he said.
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