Really important? Nah. Not so much. But as a public service I feel the need to share the fact that there are 17 road deaths a day in The Sandbox. Only 17? I would have thought more. Statistics for 2008-2009 show that there were 485,000 accidents in which 6,485 people were killed. I've long forgotten how to do percentages - what percent is that, people killed in accidents? Seems like a relatively small number like a little over 1%. Not even 1.5%. The article quotes some other percentage but I don't know how that was derived other than to say that there are 13 deaths for every 1000 accidents - which comes out to what - a little over 1% - 1.3%. [If someone else that can remember how to do this kind of math wants to correct me, I'd be appreciative.] So out of 485,000 accidents, only a little over 1% of the people involved died. What is are the statistics for other parts of the world, I wonder?
The World Health Organization [WHO] issued a report giving The Sandbox the award for having the "highest road accident death toll in the world." Yowza! In the world!!! That's going to be hard to beat, elsewhere [in case anyone is looking at this like a competition of sorts].
In a report by the General Directorate of Traffic, released mark the beginning of the 26th Gulf Traffic Week [huh?] yesterday, "some 30 percent of accidents in Riyadh area were due to drivers jumping traffic lights, followed by 18 percent due to illegal u-turns. Speeding, sudden stops and and engaging in other activities while driving, such as using mobile phones, were among the reasons leading to accidents." And, you want to know what will be done about it? Absolutely nothing, that's what. This has got to be the ONLY country in the world where the traffic police face fines and penalties for doing their job.
I've gone on and on and on in the past about how you are literally taking your life in your hands by getting behind the wheel of a car, here in The Sandbox. The driving is something that has to be seen to be experienced. My telling you about it just doesn't do it justice. Think I'm kidding? Read some of the comments from the article. No, wait. Please. Allow me:
Kamaludeen says, "It is really sad to read this news. Please do something to give AWARENESS about Traffic Regulations to the public..." Really? Really, Kamaludeen? You think that that is going to make a difference? The public is quite aware of what the Traffic Regulations are but chooses to ignore them - all of them!
Iftekhar Ahmed says, "...KSA [has] one of the best roads [sic] system in the World... but unfortunately the people driving like crazy.....all over the Kingdom." I don't know about one of the best road systems in the World, Iftekhar, but you won't get any argument from me about the "people driving like crazy.....all over the Kingdom." Crazy doesn't even begin to cover it.
Sami says, "Who cares any way. We hear all this talk about new rules which will help reduce accidents in a big way but have never seen anything implemented... Go to Bahrain and you will find a significant improvement in the way people drive there. If you spot any vehicle over-speeding, wrongly overtaking, breaking signals, etc. etc. just look at the number plate of the car and you will not be surprised at all to find a KSA on it." Well, Sami, until authorities here are given the authority to do something about this problem of PCRC don't expect anything to change. The reason it is different in Bahrain? Authorities, i.e., the Traffic Police ARE allowed to issue tickets and fines and court dates. Here? Not so much.
Concerned Person hits the nail on the head, "Yes, let's blame the government and the lack of signs and stoplights." Said tongue-in-cheek. "I place the blame squarely on the drivers. There are those who drive but lack the education to do so well. Train them or get them off the roads." You really think "education" is the problem? No, it is not. You say so yourself, "Then there are those who even if they would have used their wealth to educate themselves properly would still drive dangerously simply because of their mentality: they feel they are superior to others, the rules don't apply to them and they always have the right of way while others simply have no rights." [Emphasis, mine.] Bingo! 'Nuff said. There is more to Concerned Person's comment, "This disrespect towards ones' fellow humans is alos evident in other part of Saudi society as many maids and others like them are telling us every day." Wow. Someone - Concerned Person - has his/her eyes wide open!
Qatwa, says, "Again and again always the same!!! Really the gov must do something, 98% drive as they want, not keeping any rule. It start with Mobile whle driving ignore red traffic light high spped in the town, one way streets, overload the car, kids on the laps and many more... ...small boys driving car, with out license... Why you are surprised??? Every body park as he wish no matter if he disturb others!! " I will not correct his English usage. Kudos to him for speaking a whole heck of a lot more English than I speak Arabic. Regardless, the message is spot on and as it continues advocates for fines - right then and there - hit men [remember, women are not allowed to drive in The Sandbox] in the pocket where it will hurt the most.
Nishtar Idroos says, "Stricter laws and stiffer penalties are the only way forward." Amen to that! "The enforcing agents must be doubly smart both physically and technologically... The adventurous segment that causes most of the havoc [are you kidding?!? it is every man not just the adventurous segment!] always had the advantage by virtue of a lackadaisical attitude of the traffic police and their technological constraints." I don't know about technological constraints, but they are for sure "constrained" through no fault of their own.
There are more. Most confirm what I have been saying all along. Until the Traffic Police are ALLOWED to do their job there will be unabated PCRC in The Sandbox.