Friday, July 18, 2008

New Traffic Laws

Yeah. So, how are those new traffic laws working out, anyway? Good thing we have them. Yet, the roads here are no safer today than they were a week ago, before the new laws were implemented. A "weekend traffic rush" resulted in three traffic accidents Wednesday night wherein NINE people have died and thirteen others were injured.

Here are some statistics, according to this article:

Saudi Arabia has one of the highest traffic accident rates in the world. Some 5,000 die in traffic accidents annually. No less than 30,000 are injured and maimed.

Economic cost to the Kingdom due to road traffic accidents is SR21 billion per year ($5.6 billion) which is equivalent to 4.6% of the national revenue.

Some 80% of traffic fatalities in the Kingdom are below 40 years of age, and 30 percent of these victims are children. [The child victims would be reduced, substantially, if child safety seats were required. Heck, they'd be reduced substantially if the children were simply seat-belted in vehicles instead of allowed to use the front seat of the car as a play area! It is common to see several children in the front seat of the car - several - not just one or two - doing acrobats which undoubtedly cause both driver distraction and disruption!]

Total numbers of injuries and deaths in the past 25 years have been over half a million, which is equivalent to 3.5% of the total population of Saudi Arabia.

No joke. Years ago, when DH was first here as a contractor, he was waiting to go to work and one of the driver's was late picking him up [yes, the Company provides a driver for my DH to go to work off our compound]. DH asked the driver why he was so late and the driver said, "There was an accident. Traffic is stopped." DH said, "Was anyone hurt?" To which the driver responded, "Just some womens." Yeah. "Just some womens." Nothing to see here, folks. Move along...

The traffic police - or whatever governing body or authority is in charge - must get out there and STOP this carnage. The drivers on the roads here - all men - need to realize that it is not only their lives and their wives [plural!] and children lives that they are endangering, but they are putting the rest of us in peril, as well.

When - WHEN - are MEN here going to wake up and do something about the driving here? Adding some new laws or changing existing laws does absolutely nothing. Until someone in charge and with the ability to actually do something about this situation grows a big pair of "brass ones" the situation is only going to continue to get worse and worse and worse... Oh, well, perhaps this is one way of controlling the population. Survival of the fittest. Something like that...

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