Road deaths and injuries in Qatar declined in 2017 compared to 2016, the General Directorate of Traffic announced."Only 5.4 Road traffic accident (RTA) deaths per 100,000 persons were recorded in the country last year, compared to the world average of 17.4," explained Brigadier Ibrahim Saad al-Sulaiti, head of Statistical Analysis at Office of the Minister of Interior.
"While the World Health Organisation estimated 10-12 deaths per 10,000 vehicles, in Qatar it was only 1.17 deaths. If globally three deaths were registered per 100 injured, it was two in Qatar," the official told a press conference.
Irrespective of a 5% increase in number of vehicles in 2017 compared to 2016, accidents with injuries declined by 1.3%, as 6,140 cases were recorded in 2016 and only 6,061 last year. Serious injuries declined by 14.8%, from 872 in 2016 to 743 in 2017, and fatalities by 0.6%, thanks to the combined efforts of various state agencies.
In 2017, the number of accidents declined by 2.4%, while 97.5% of 240,333 traffic accidents reported in 2017 were without injuries. Around 89.6 of the injuries in last year's accidents were minor, with only 2% of the injured on the road dying last year.
Brigadier Mohamed Saad al-Kharji, director general of the General Directorate of Traffic, attributed the positive achievements to improvement in a number of factors.
Ambulances are well-distributed throughout the country, reducing the arrival time at accident spots from 15 minutes to around 5-7 minutes. The new driving test strategy and curriculum focuses on producing high quality drivers, equipped with proper traffic awareness.
The use of more speed radars and surveillance cameras across greater Doha and the highways and the efforts of the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) in improving the roads helped greatly in improving the traffic scene in the country.
Brigadier al-Kharji stressed that the major causes of traffic mortality were high speed and not using seat belts, as in many cases the vehicle overturns even without colliding with other vehicles.
But, he stressed that pedestrian fatalities are still a challenge, as more awareness efforts should be exerted, in particular among expatriate communities and the labourers' category, as most cases are among them.
Traffic patrols have been intensified in key areas and companies instructed to drop and pick their workers from safe points without letting them cross the road. The same applies for the parents who drop their children at school.
The National Traffic Safety Committee secretary general Brigadier Mohamed Abdullah al-Malki, recalled that the National Traffic Safety Strategy was launched in 2013 with a target of six deaths per each 100,000 inhabitants by 2022 but the number could be brought down to 5.4 in 2017 due to the collective efforts of all the involved parties.