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Saudi traffic authorities say 20 dying on roads each day

Saudi traffic authorities say 20 dying on roads each day

The kingdom is preparing to welcome women drivers next year

An average of 20 people are dying in Saudi Arabia each day as a result of traffic accidents, according to reports.

Ministry of Transport undersecretary for roads Majed Al-Arquobi confirmed the figure at a traffic meeting in Dammam this week, according to Saudi Gazette.

The department is aiming to bring down the rate of deaths from road accidents to one for every 100,000 people from the current rate of 26.8 per 100,000 people.

This is significantly above the average rate of 9.2 per 100,000 recorded in high-income countries, the 17.4 world average and even the 24.1 per 100,000 average in low income countries recorded by the World Health Organisation.

Arquobi indicated it was difficult to get an exact figure on road deaths in the kingdom due to the lack of a centralised centre to collect data.

However he believed the kingdom could save 2,400 lives by 2020 through measures to reduce road accidents.

On average there is a traffic accident on Saudi roads every minute causing annual losses of SAR20bn ($5.3bn), according to the mayor of the Eastern Province Fahd Bin Mohammed Al-Jubeir.

The figures come as the kingdom prepares for women to take to the roads next year after King Salman announced plans to lift a female driving ban.

This could mean a sudden surge of new drivers following the June 24 deadline, with the majority of women indicating they intend to drive.

Read: Study reveals 82% of Saudi women plan to drive

Director general of traffic brigadier Mohammed Al-Bassami told the gathering that traffic rules would be applied equally to men and women.

He said the department was working to introduce harsher penalties for violators of traffic rules that are pending approval from the government.

Mobile phone usage is responsible for the majority of the accidents on the kingdom’s roads, according to the official.

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