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Old problem still unsolved

Oct 19,2017 - Last updated at Oct 19,2017

The minister of transport once raised the issue of high numbers of road accidents in the country when the first session of the National Panel for Road Safety was held, on Monday.

The minister said the issue was becoming an unbearable crisis in terms of human life and economic cost.

About 750 deaths are recorded annually in the country due to road accidents, and about 17,000 injuries, most of which are serious, life threatening.

More worrisome is that no less than 60 per cent of all casualties resulting from traffic accidents are people below the age of 30; that shows a lack of awareness of the dangers of reckless driving and gives an idea of the loss of potential in a country that takes pride in its human asset.

Besides the immeasurable pain the loss of a loved one causes, there is also an economic cost the country incurs as a result of road accidents, one that the minister put at JD320 million annually.

The figures speak for themselves. They are alarming and something more serious needs to be done to address the problem.

There are obvious explanations for this high rate of traffic accidents; topping them, perhaps, is the ever-increasing number of vehicles on roads that are not designed and constructed to deal with such heavy traffic.

As long as there is no efficient public transportation system in place, people will have to rely on their own vehicles for transportation. That is an objective, if unpleasant, reality.

But then, there is the reckless driving exhibited by many of our drivers, and by reckless, one does not mean speed only.

The pervasive talking and checking Facebook pages on smartphones, most annoying when drivers forget they are driving and stop the traffic to better read things that sure can wait till they reach their destination, must stop.

Promises of big fines seem to have done nothing to stem this practice. It is time traffic police, with the help of the many cameras installed on the streets, consider this habit as dangerous, if not more, as speeding.

The usual culprits — no safety belts, swerving in and out of lanes, lack of respect for traffic rules and lack of courtesy towards fellow motorists — are still obvious on our streets as traffic officers seem to concentrate less on respect for traffic laws and more on illegal parking in metropolitan areas and speed on highways.

The prime minister is responding to the growing danger of traffic accidents by assembling a team of experts to draw a plan to stop the carnage on our roads.

 

Yet, the crisis does not require more committee work or recommendations. The remedy is simple and straightforward: scrupulous enforcement of traffic rules.

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Comments

THIS COULD BEST BE DESCRIBED AS AN EPIDEMIC AND PUBLIC HEALTH DISASTER. THE CAUSES ARE SIMPLE AND IT IS FRUSTRATION AND REACTIVE MEASURES TOWARDS ECONOMIC STAGNATION NEVER MIND THE FACT THAT NO LAWS IN JORDAN IS WORTH THE PAPER THAT IT IS WRITTEN ON. HOW ABOUT TOBACCO SMOKE LWAS AND RULES?????

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