A motorcycle tumbled after hitting a car in the Hilal area yesterday. The injured bike driver is seen awaiting the paramedics on the pavement. The Hamad General Hospital is aiming to increase public awareness of the importance of safe road practices during Ramadan. PICTURE: Joey Aguilar
The Hamad General Hospital (HGH) has issued a fervent appeal to Qatar’s motorists to observe caution this Ramadan, looking back with concern at more than double the average road traffic deaths recorded during the holy month last year.
During Ramadan 2013, there were 31 deaths from injuries sustained on the roads in the country. The monthly average of road traffic deaths in the country is only 15, according to key findings of the Hamad Injury Prevention Programme (HIPP) of the HGH Trauma Surgery Section.
“More than 60 % of these deaths occurred at the crash scene or before arriving at the hospital. This means that the injuries sustained were so severe and probably caused by high-speed collisions,” said HIPP director Dr Rafael Consunji.
“The fatalities were almost all males with 23% being children under 18 years of age. More than 70% of the fatalities were younger than the age of 30. Victims from GCC countries were much younger (average age of 20 years) than expatriates (average age of 31 years) and comprised over half of all of the fatalities.”
The hospital’s senior management team is aiming to increase public awareness of the importance of safe road practices while fasting during Ramadan.
“Deaths from road traffic injuries were more than double during the month of Ramadan in 2013 compared to other months; this is especially the case for young men who are more likely to be involved in more serious traffic accidents,” said Dr Hassan al-Thani, head of Trauma Surgery at Hamad General Hospital Level I Trauma Centre.
“We call on all families and road users in Qatar to pay special attention to their road safety during this period to decrease the number of road traffic accidents,” he said.
“By ensuring that all passengers in a vehicle use seat belts and children are placed in designated car seats, we can considerably reduce the number of unnecessary accidents and deaths. Given that young men form the majority of the casualties experienced, we must educate them about the importance of responsible driving,” added Dr Hassan al-Thani.
HGH’s leadership team has previously conveyed concerns about the high number of accidents involving young men during Ramadan.
“If we all drove within the approved speed limits, used a seat belt, and avoided distractions such as mobile phones while driving, and impaired driving while tired or sleepy, then this year’s Ramadan will be safer and happier for many more families. All of Qatar’s residents must work together to make safer driving practices a habit. It is only through partnerships that sustained improvements in the road safety environment can be realised,” added Dr Consunji.
According to researchers at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, Qatar residents are five times more likely to die in a vehicle crash than from a stroke – the highest ratio in the world.
March, April and May this year recorded 13, 29 and 19 road traffic deaths respectively in Qatar.
QR5,000 fine for not
claiming seized vehicles
The Traffic and Patrol Department has decided to impose a fine of QR5,000 on people who don’t take back their cars from the yard in Industrial Area - where vehicles seized for traffic violations are kept – for a long time, local Arabic daily Al Sharq has reported. The car owners will also have to pay a penalty for each day of delay in payment of the fine for the violation, the report adds.
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