Traffic Problems in Yemen: Is There Any Way Out? [Archives:2000/03/Last Page]

January 17 2000

Yasser M. Ahmad
Yemen Times
Many are the car accidents that lead innocent people to death. Reasons for
such accidents are many. The most important factors are the following:
Breakneck speed
Breaking traffic rules
Vehicle’s safety
Narrow streets
Careless young drivers
The above factors are part and parcel of the traffic problems found in our country.
I) Crazy speed and breaking traffic rules.
I find myself obliged to connect this point with the forth one which is careless young drivers who are always seen driving through the city at high speed. Such drivers are more often sons of officials, traders and businessmen who give cars to their sons at early ages as means of transportation and sometimes to show off. Unfortunately, the role of such parents, in most cases ends with giving cars to their sons and ignore or neglect how these cars are used by their sons. 
Despite the narrow and crowded streets, such young drivers drive as if they are in New York or I do not know where. The consequences of such carelessness are always fearful and regrettable. Sometimes the drivers themselves become the victims. What if parents know what their own sons do with cars? What if fathers themselves do like their sons? Personally, I have noticed that most people who break traffic rules are officials. It is not difficult to notice the car board bearing governmental or police numbers. Do you think trafficmen can stop or even try to stop such cars? I do not think so, at least in our country.
It is really disappointing to see the people who make rules and are supposed to protect them are the first to break them before the very eyes of everybody. Unfortunately, for such people traffic rules are nothing more than neglected colorful signs in books.
Of course, this does not mean that the rest of drivers are infallible.
This is due to the fact that most of them do not know about traffic rules. They have not received any guidance from the authorities concerned. In my opinion, I think that Media must do something about this matter, especially TV. because it is watched by most of the people. The Ministry of Education also shares the responsibility of the people’s ignorance of such rules, for it can simply include all that should be known about traffic rules in schools curricula. Most of the traffic men nowadays are secondary schools graduates who are doing the compulsory military service in this field. Such students do not know the basic rules of traffics. This sometimes leads to misunderstanding and arguments between these young traffic men and drivers who sometimes respond by attacking them. It has been very painful to hear about arguments between traffic men and drivers that led to death ceases among traffic men. Do you think that these young people will dare confront such situations? I doubt it.
Vehicle’s safety:
Most of the drivers in our country do not know about their cars. Drivers should now something about the important parts in their cars in order to know how to deal with them if a problem occurs in a remote area. It has also been noticed that drivers in Yemen do not usually use the safety belt. It is only used by members of foreign organizations working in Yemen.
Narrow streets and street planing
Planning streets is one of the main factors that help save people from accidents to some extent. Unfortunately, there are a few planned streets in our country. The plan of a street in our country may change according to the interest of certain people. Narrow streets, such as the main entrance to Sanaa from Taiz, Aden, Al-Dhalea, Ibb, Dhamar and Abian is also a reason for car accidents. Many are the accidents that take place in this narrow street due the great number of vehicles that come from these governorates to Sanaa. This street becomes very crowded in occasions like Eids, when many people are leaving for their villages and cities. Taxies in such occasions work continuously and at high speed in order to make more than one trip a day. Such drivers take advantage of such occasions and they even increase the bills.
I think that, traffic authority must control and organize the streets in such crowded occasions and provide buses with the capacity of more passengers. By this they will force taxi drivers to abide by roles and be more careful about people’s lives. Unfortunately, traffic authorities says that it can not control all the streets due to shortage of facilities. For example, in April 1st 1997 controlling and observing Sanaa Taiz road was inaugurated with 8 police cars. This number of cars, of course, is not enough.