The rate of traffic accidents in Qatar remains the highest in the world but the mortalities have come down over the past one year as a result of the new traffic law, according to Brigadier Mohammed Saad Al Kharji, director of the Department of Traffic and Patrol.
Speaking on the monthly Lakum Al Qarar (Decision is Yours) show on Qatar TV, Al Kharji said deaths due to accidents had fallen by 20 percent compared to last year while serious injuries had come down by 45 percent.
He disclosed that a special area has been allocated in Mesaieed for the youth to demonstrate their driving skills. The facility, with all the necessary safety requirements, will be opened shortly.
This episode on Qatar TV was dedicated to H E Sheikh Fahad bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, who was killed in a traffic accident early this month.
“Qatar stills tops the world in the number of accidents, but it is no more the number one in deaths caused by accidents. The new law that has imposed strict penalties for violations has played a major role in reducing mortalities,” said Al Kharji.
In 2008, the department had recorded 203 deaths and 570 serious injuries caused by road accidents. The latest reports indicate that the mortality rate has fallen by 20 percent, he added.
The incidence of serious injuries, which have dropped by 45 percent compared to last year, was high in the past due to the large number of pedestrian casualties involving mostly Asian workers. The department launched a campaign five years ago to create road safety awareness among workers, which has produced positive results, said Al Kharji.
The official said motorists have the right to see the radars on the roads and can lodge a complaint with the department if the radars were not clearly visible. He added that everyone had the right to inform the police if they came across a motorist who was blatantly violating the traffic law.
He clarified that the department had not offered any incentives to policemen for imposing fines on motorists found to be violating the law.
The show concluded with a vote by the participants, comprising mostly Qatari youth. Only 40 percent of the audience felt that that new traffic law had reduced the number of road accidents, with the majority — 60 percent — saying it had not.
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