Got road rage? Saudi fatalities on the rise may want to make you slow down
According to a recent press report, 163 people died in traffic accidents in 83 days in Al-Ahsa region in the Eastern Province. This is an alarming figure and it is high time to reverse this rising tide of traffic accident fatalities in various regions of the Kingdom by drawing up detailed plans and strategies.
One of the major causes for the increase in accident deaths in Al-Ahsa is apparently the absence of the Saher system in the region. Another cause is speeding and reckless driving by young men. These youths drive their vehicles at the maximum speed as if they were racing with the wind, something which puts not only their lives in danger, but the lives of other road users as well.
This reckless driving most often leads to young men running traffic lights, which in turn, causes more fatalities. I do not think that slapping fines on such violators will deter them from committing traffic offenses in future. Those who have the money don’t care if they are ticketed. I think that these reckless people who are responsible for putting the lives of fellow road users in danger should be given more stringent punishments like revoking their licenses and barring them from driving for a long period of time, in addition to putting them behind bars. How nice it would be if they received two types of punishment at a time!
Another major cause for the rising number of road accidents is the carelessness of those who are behind the wheel.
Apart from not concentrating on driving, they engage in other distracting activities such as using mobile phones, lighting cigarettes and changing stations on the radio. Other factors that lead to fatal accidents include the use of old tires, not carrying out periodic vehicle inspections and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Under any circumstances, I believe that prevention is better than the cure. There are many preventive measures that can be taken, and these include intensive awareness campaigns. Parents must educate their children about the importance of adhering to traffic rules.
Apart from this, print and electronic media should undertake programs aimed at educating the younger generation about the importance of observing traffic rules, and alerting them to the dangers caused by traffic violations to themselves as well as to other members of society.
Teachers and academics must also play a role in educating the younger generation about the merits of safe driving and the dangers of reckless driving. Mosque imams and preachers, through their Friday sermons, have a significant role to play in enlightening members of society about the need to change their bad driving habits.
By Muhammad Al-Suwaigh
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