THINK before you drive [Archives:2006/1008/Last Page]

December 18 2006
Photo from archived article: photos/1008/lastpage1_1
Photo from archived article: photos/1008/lastpage1_1
The five-day national “Think before you drive” campaign is ongoing in Yemen as part of a global road safety. The initiative is by the French International Automobile Foundation.

The campaign program includes safety awareness lectures and workshops for three days at the Police Officers Club and was launched through free tire testing at the Modern Petrol Station on 60 Meters road.

Think Before You Drive has been launched all over the world and now it has reached Yemen. In partnership with the Yemeni Club for Touring and Automobile, chaired by Alwan Al-Shaibani, the national launch took place on Dec. 16.

The private sector has taken on this initiative in Yemen because of the importance and urgency of the road safety situation.

“Our people should start taking responsibility each in their own job. The reason for increasing car accidents in Yemen is because of speed, violating traffic laws, lack of sufficient traffic and road signs, bad roads and lack of awareness,” Al-Shaibani said.

In his inaugural speech Al-Alimi agreed with Al-Shaibani as he said, “The problem in Yemen is that there is no regular vehicle maintenance and people go to the mechanics only when there is a problem. This campaign targets drivers in the first place because they are the main reason behind road accidents.”

Gen. Mohammed Al-Qaidi, public relations deputy, at the Ministry of Interior, gave an astonishing narration of the road accidents situation in Yemen. Al-Qaidi, who is also chief editor of the army newspaper “Al-Hurras,” said the average number of accidents between 2000 and 2006 is 31.4 accidents per day and there is an increase in this average annually. The total number of registered road accidents between 2000 and 2006 is 79,245 accidents causing the death of 15,279 people, with an average mortality rate of 6 people per day.

In 2006 alone 2,511 people died in Yemen because of road accidents and the average increased from 4.2 in 2000 to 7.6 deaths per day in 2006, he exclaimed.

The aim of the campaign is to educate Yemenis about the dangers of reckless driving and what can be done to avoid the huge losses in lives and machinery.

“More than $25,000 is lost every day because of road accidents. And 60 percent of the vehicles on the road are not suitable for use anymore. This ought to start us thinking what we are doing wrong,” commented Al-Qaidi.

The campaign aims to promote safe driving behaviour and to raise awareness about road safety, locally and globally.

The campaign promotes simple road safety messages: Highlighting actions that take a few seconds but could save your life and identifying the main causes of serious or fatal crashes.

The road safety campaign uses a crash test dummy to show the effect of poor driving and to show the experiences from the car crashes we hope you never have.

The director of the Arab Road Safety Organisation, Afif Al-Ferithy, explaing the importance of safe driving. He highlighted importance of road safety stating that road accidents cause the third highest amount of world deaths.

“More than 1.2 million people die in car accidents around the world. In the Arab world more than 32,000 deaths are caused by car accidents of which 20 percent are children,” he explained.

The organization, of which the Yemeni Club for Touring and Automobiles is a member, is considering establishing a branch in Yemen, stating that this is a practical way to enhance local awareness and improve road safety in Yemen. The organisation will be working on a scientific survey on drivers' behaviour while chewing qat. He explained, “The study will examine the behaviours of pedestrians, traffic officers and drivers and the affect qat has on their conduct.”


– Low and middle income countries account for more than 80 percent of global deaths from road accidents and fatality rates are rising. By contrast, industrialised countries is of three decades of falling road deaths

– Seat belts are conservatively estimated to have saved more than 300,000 lives and prevented more than 9 million injuries in highly motorised countries over the past 25 years.

– Children under the age of four are 10 times more likely to be killed in a car crash if unrestrained.

– Unrestrained infants are at risk of death in a car crash at speeds as low as 8 km/h.

– On a wet road the difference in stopping distance for new and worn tires can be about one cars length – potentially the difference between braking safely and having a crash.