Staggering number of car accidents causes panic:Ten more killed, others injured [Archives:2003/655/Local News]

July 31 2003

Abdo Moqbil Al-Sabiri
SANAA, July 29 – Ten people were killed and others were injured when their minibus rammed into a truck on the Sanaa-Hodeidah highway last week. The truck driver was the only survivor of the accident, which was among the most devastating ever on that highway.
Breakneck speed, negligence and technical problems are the main reasons behind such accidents.
Traffic authorities are concerned that lack of road services in Yemen's busiest highways, such as Sana'a-Taiz and Sana'a-Hodeidah routes could be a contributing factor to the high number of accidents.
“What is needed at roadsides is better signs, which could in turn prevent many traffic accidents that have become quite regular in our country lately,” a traffic policeman said.
Roads are not safe in Yemen because driving license regulations are most of the time never enforced.
Unfortunately, children under the age of 16 years also drive cars using fake driver licenses or false dates of birth.

Solutions needed
Tackling the main problems suffered by drivers and police officers could substantially reduce the number of accidents.
The problem of excessive speed, the main cause of accident, can be tackled through awareness campaigns, and proper law enforcement.
Only those road accidents attended by the traffic policemen in Yemen are recorded, whereas in other remote and mountainous regions, car accidents are rarely documented. More focus should be given to rural areas in this regard.
Proposals for solutions to prevent accidents on Yemen's highways and roads are urgently required from the traffic authorities.
It would be beneficial if all organizations involved in the documentation and collection of data on road accidents developed common criteria and definitions. This would allow comparisons to be made between information obtained by different sources.

State blamed
Despite a perceived lack of urgency on the part of the state to make any major changes to the traffic system in the country, more funding should be allocated for road maintenance.
Practicalities and safety signs on roads should be constantly reviewed, and traffic regulations implemented on all citizens equally.
However, the suggestion to have extensive auditing of police officers to know how they handle their duties and better regulations to control speed limits on highways -by installing speed sensors, etc.- would certainly improve the situation. Although this may be more expensive in the short term, but it would prove to be more economically viable in the long run.