Road accidents killed more than 7,000 people in Saudi Arabia in 2011, making it the country with the world’s deadliest traffic record, far surpassing the casualties in the last Gulf war, according to a Saudi traffic police officer.
A total of more than 68,000 people were also injured on the Gulf Kingdom’s roads in 2011 while such accidents cost in excess of SR13 billion (Dh12.8 billion), said Colonel Zuhair bin Abdul Rahman, traffic systems director in the western town of Medina.
In a lecture carried by Saudi newspapers, Abdul Rahman put the death toll in the 2011 road mishaps at 7,153 while his figures showed over 86,000 people have been killed on the country’s roads over the past two decades.
He said the casualties over the past 20 years have surpassed the toll number in the last India-Pakistan war, the Sahara conflict, the Argentine-Britain war, Croatia internal conflict and Nepal’s civil war, adding that their combined death toll stood at 82,000.
“These accidents are real road terror or massacres which are not less dangerous than the organized terrorism…our data show that Saudi Arabia has the worst traffic record in the world in terms of accidents and casualties,” he said.
“The death toll from road accidents in 2011 exceeded the number of casualties resulting from violence in Iraq during that year, when they stood at around 4,200…it also far surpassed the deaths in the last Gulf war (the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq), when nearly 5,200 people were reported to have died.”
Abdul Rahman warned that studies conducted by Saudi Arabia’s traffic police expect the death toll from road mishaps could reach 9,600 in 2019.
He said most of the accidents have been caused by what he described as human errors, including speeding, jumping the red lights, reckless driving, violation of traffic rules, and driving by unlicensed persons.
Wife seeks divorce from “abandoning” husband