As the number of road deaths and serious injuries in Qatar continues to climb, new figures suggest that children are the victims in a disproportionate number of major vehicle collisions.
In a statement this week, Dr. Rafael Consunji, director of Hamad Medical Corp.’s (HMC) injury prevention program, said that motor vehicle crashes in Qatar lead to more than 200 serious injuries annually of children under the age of 18.
That means that despite making up only about 17 percent of the population, children accounted for nearly 30 percent of the 671 major injuries suffered in traffic collisions disclosed by the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics (MDPS) last year.
However, in terms of fatalities, Consunji said that 35 children die each year as a result of vehicle crashes. That works out to nearly 16 percent of the fatalities in recorded by MDPS – roughly in line with the proportion of children in the population.
Still, the official said there are disturbing details behind the figures.
“The fact that nearly 90 percent of these deaths happen at the scene, and are not treated at HMC hospitals highlights the importance of preventing these injuries from happening in the first place.”
In light of the figures, HMC has repeated its call for passengers to buckle up. Medical officials have previously said that only a tiny fraction – 1.2 percent – of residents injured in car crashes here are wearing a seatbelt or strapped into a car seat.
Seeing children unbuckled and climbing around the interior of a moving vehicle is a common sight in Doha. This is in part because some people are skeptical about the effectiveness of car seats, or may balk at the costs involved in buying one. Others have said that their children don’t like to be restrained while in moving vehicles.
Advocates point out that it took decades for seatbelt use to become virtually universal in places such as North America, and that it will simply take time for attitudes to change in Qatar.
Meanwhile, the number of traffic collision victims in Qatar keeps climbing.
There were 65 road deaths during the first three months of the year, according to the latest MDSP figures. That’s up from 40 during the same period in 2014.
Similarly, the number of serious injuries rose to 203 during the first quarter of 2015, up from 142 during the same timeframe last year.
Population growth slowing
Separately, there have been several signs that Qatar’s rapid population growth of recent years may soon taper off.
Earlier this month, statistics showed that population growth in the country appears to have leveled off in April.
And officials from the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) said this week that they expect the number of working expats in Qatar to “steadily decline,” according to the Gulf Times.
The race to construct highways, stadiums, hotels and rail lines is a labor-intensive process. For example, there are currently 18,500 people currently working on the Doha Metro project alone, Qatar Rail officials said last month.
However, as these projects start to wind down, the need for expat workers is expected to similarly decrease.
Still, the government has misjudged Qatar’s labor needs before. According to the country’s National Development Strategy, the country’s population was expected to be 1.84 million in 2015. That’s considerably off from last month’s total of 2.34 million residents.
In fairness, the comprehensive document was released just as Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup and embarked on massive construction building boom.
Both the 2011-16 development strategy and this week’s report from the MEC envision Qatar evolving by reducing the number of low-paid manual laborers while increasing the share of highly skilled and highly paid expats in the labour force.
I always laugh when I read that people don’t buckle their kids up because they don’t like it. That’s the stupidest excuse you can possibly say. That’s the same as saying your kids are smarter than you and know better than you do how to be safe. You’re essentially admitting your own idiocy. You’re succumbing to their demands regarding road safety, which should be a non-discussion. If they’re that brilliant (or the converse is true about you), why don’t you consult them on other important life decisions like what car to buy, business investment opportunities, etc. A lot of things about the roads and driving in Qatar get under my skin, but nothing gets my blood boiling more than seeing a baby riding on the dash.
“Baby knows best!” Who’s in charge? Be a parent!
most of my fellow qatari’s whine that they dont wear the seatbelt cuze it crumbles their thob LOL …
im proud of being one of the rare Qatari’s using seatbelts since 1998 … never been without a seatbelt ..
If I may suggest, using seatbelt pads to avoid thobes being crumpled, I have been using these for 15 years to prevent my shirt being crumpled. Its worth a try =)
Some female drivers come up with even more understandable “excuses”. It squashes my b ….
If it’s not the crumpled thobe excuse it becomes the stomach ache excuse.
The seatbelt warning in some of the newer cars is much more aggressive and comes on continually, not just when the car is first started up. Despite this I’ve been in the vehicle with people who will drive around for hours with PING! PING! PING! going on rather than succumb to buckling up.
It usually stops after a few minutes… Some guys have these
I used the seat belt before it was mandated by law, it’s a habit that one gets used to.
If the car does that, they fasten the seatbelt across the empty seat and then sit on it, or fasten it around the back of the seat.
The warning noise should stop as it encourages this sort of behaviour from people who won’t wear seatbelts and is potentially worse in a crash because the computer would deploy the airbag at a lower speed crash if it knew the occupant wasn’t wearing their belt.
you can just disconnect the sensor , its under the seat and plug an adapter that tricks that system that the seat is buckled 🙂
You must be a very intelligent person. May Allah allow you to spread your genes.
Relax Chili! Sit back and let Darwin’s theory do its work!
Haha, no problem here with the idiots removing themselves from the gene pool. But the sad thing is that the genes that need to be removed from the pool many times walk away. I guess by extension their kids are also that gene pool, but it’s still a tragedy due to stupidity of the “parents.”
You made my weekend one of the fantastic answer from my mind transfer red to u.
My son is almost 3 and when he climbs in the car he goes right into his car seat. In fact sometimes he likes to sit in it even if we are not going anywhere. If a child has been in a car seat since day one, they don’t know any better and assume that is where they are supposed to be.
I would like to see traffic accidents, stats, etc. reported in the local English papers. And they should report the tagline just as they do in the U.S., “none of the three fatalities were wearing seatbelts” or “the two passengers wearing seatbelts were not injured, while the driver, who was not wearing his seatbelt, died en route to the hospital.” This would help promote awareness. The Arabic papers should also include this information in their articles.
Children don’t like to be restrained while in a moving vehicle…for me is a lame excuse. As parents, you should know better than your child. And parents should let their children realize that they should follow them and not the other way around.
But this common nowadays. Parent let their children run things.
I hope the MOI and the Transportation Ministry monitor your website, “Seeing children unbuckled and climbing around the interior of a moving vehicle is a common sight in Doha.” An all too common, dangerous and of course deadly sight. If you mention at the accident site that the child should have been using a car seat, all you hear is, “It’s God’s Will”… It
should have been God’s will that you were killed instead of your child. The non-use of seat belts for children is rampant, cell phone usage while driving is rampant, and exceeding the posted speed limit on roads, especially Salwa Rd. rampant. Everyone knows these things, yet the officials in charge and law enforcement are too AFRAID to do anything about it. Let’s not disrupt the public order of UNORDERLINESS.
And in other news, the Doha Expressway speed limit is soon to revert to 100kph despite the fact that the trial of the 80kph speed limit resulted in a sharp reduction in accidents. The reason? Because 80kph isn’t fast enough for some people.
Apparently 140 – 160 kph isn’t either.
They also switched off one of the traffic cameras. The excuse was initially that it was ‘faulty’ but the way it was worded made it clear that the real reason was that people who were speeding were braking suddenly when they saw the camera – avoiding the fine but instead causing a major accident when the cars speeding behind them ran up their backside.
The wise voices proposed lowering the speed limit and retaining speed cameras.
The loud voices proposed raising the speed limit and removing the speed cameras.
Another victory for common sense…….
There used to be a camera monitoring the break down lane on Shamal Rd just out of the underpass of Waab. It disappeared as well.
” It’s gods will ”
Perhaps it was God’s will that the seatbelt was invented & utilised?
Another day, another bad driving story for me. This time Arab National, Male weaving in and out of the traffic, speeding, then decided to tailgate me because I wouldn’t get out of his way. Then swerved to overtake, just missed another car and went through the red light at the roundabout. I wouldn’t minded if he was hit and got killed but he had a kid probably around 4/5 years of age hanging onto to the back of his seat. He probably thought he was cool, dead kids are not cool.
sadly just another day in paradise …
Not that those who need to see this will watch this video, but decided to share anyway. This is at 30 mph, ONLY. How difficult is this to understand?!
The stupidest thing I’ve heard as an excuse is that ‘there is no safer place on earth for a child than in its mothers’ arms’ …. words fail me
And the stupidest thing I’ve seen was just yesterday … a mother with a 5 year old on her lap who was steering the car on a major road, with another child sitting right next to her … what on earth goes through these people’s heads?
Broken windscreen glass would be the safe bet?
No – I’m not even attempting to troll.
Just a very sad observation.
Fresh air, quite clearly!
I’m not surprised children are taking the brunt of the injuries if the standard of driving around school pick up times is anything to go by. I took some video from my car-cam of the absolutely appalling driving going on outside Kid’n Around kindergarden and the Qatari girls’ school opposite it, in Madinat Khalifa north at pick up time yesterday. I see it every day – it’s only a matter of time before a child is killed just walking from the from the school gate to their car. It’s total chaos. Drivers double park and block the road which forces other cars onto the wrong side of the road in order to pass. One parent parks slap bang in the middle of the junction every day (it’s right opposite the door, so in Qatar logic, why wouldn’t you?) meaning no-one can see clearly to turn and they have to swerve out into the path of oncoming traffic to get around him. Every other person seems to be on the phone and driving too fast, none of the kids are in seatblelts let alone child car seats, they mount the pavement to get around cars that are taking too long to move off, they do complicated three point turns in really congested areas with poor visibility where parents are trying to cross with small children, rather than just drive around the block – it’s totally, totally insane. And for real treat you can go and sit outside the English Modern School in Al Messila of a morning and watch the parents/drivers pull up and DOUBLE PARK on a stretch of highway with an 80 kpm speed limit and watch as little children fling the back doors open and climb out into the path of the oncoming traffic while the adults stay in the car – it has to been seen to be believed. It seems people will do literally ANYTHING including risking the lives of their children and others, to get as close to the door as possible without actually having to park properly, get off their backsides and walk a few yards.
‘You say all that as if it were a bad thing, yanee’.
I was cynical about the speed limit reduction to 80kph on the expressway but it’s been a massive success. The accident rate has dropped dramatically, I now see maybe one a week at most, whereas I used to see one almost daily, sometimes two or three! There are still a few idiots tailgating or bombing down the hard shoulder at 120, but generally the traffic seems to flow more steadily. Less haste, more speed as we say in England.
Good luck then as Police just announced that will modify again the speed limit on 22Feb making it again 100
Most of the child seats are iso fix now , surprisingly All Toyota Land-cruiser models except 2015 vxr model ( 315,000 QR ) lack that option . Force the dealer (s) to have it standard on all cars , prevent families using pickups as a mode of transportation for kids and observe the decrease in child related accidents .
You don’t need isofix system in your car to use a child seat, classic system with seat belt works as well.
not as well as isofix , google it 🙂
I know this, was just saying that if someone cares about his kids is not necessary to spend high amounts of money, it can be done cheaper. A decent second hand child seat seat you can buy with 100-200 QR
True , i agree with u
Like many of the other posters here, i am more than happy to see the morons who speed, tail gate, cut off, overtake, speed through redlights, talk on the phone while driving unbuckled etc etc kill themselves but the problem is that it’s usually innocent victims of their reckless disregard of safety that fall victim.
There are 2 issues, ignorance & enforcement. As we all know, road laws are not enforced for a certain amount of people with the right number plates. In Australia, seat belts have been compulsory since 1968, coincidently the rate of fatalities since 1968 has declined dramatically. Also in Australia, the penalties are stiff, if the driver is not wearing a seat belt it’s an expensive fine and loss of license points, if a child is unrestrained it’s a loss of licence and usually a fair amount of public humiliation as no one would be stupid enough to have an unrestrained child in a car.
Children are taught the importance of wearing a seat belt early on, a car that is doing 80 miles/klm an hour that suddenly stops due to hitting something does not mean that any unrestrained objects in the car suddenly stop.
An unrestrained child in a car doing that speed will hit the seat in front of them or the wind shield at 80miles/klm as a result.
Ask a person to walk head first into a wall, the average speed is 3klm an hour..and it hurts – hitting a solid object such as a window at 80klm will kill.
If you want to drive and put yourself at risk, fine but don’t do it to your children, they are innocent of your lack of consideration and intelligence.
It’s an alarming issue and government is trying its best to tackle it even they distributed free car seats for every new born baby. Safety has to be the first preortiy of everyone, Some careless parents play with their lives and kids suffer the most.. But they just don’t understand it and never learn a lesson until they experience it firsthand..
When they experience it first-hand, they still won’t learn, as it will be ‘God’s will’.
“Advocates point out that it took decades for seat belt use to become virtually universal in places such as North America, and that it will simply take time for attitudes to change in Qatar.” If that is a valid reason those who have to get used to the necessity of seat belts should also be given decades to get used to cars. First, give them a one-horse-power car, and then, over decades, increase the HP slowly until they are able to use it properly and safely.
CCTV on major roads and the prosecution of offenders without exception? Just a thought because there’s seems no will to put sufficient resources on the road to enforce the law so it’s about the only option left.
Qatar needs to make car seats mandatory and ticket anyone who doesn’t have their baby in one. It astonishes me how under used car seats here are. This goes for locals expats alike.
I only see westerners using car seats. I think there needs to be more education on why car seats are important.
A lot of people really do not understand the importance of having their baby in a car seat.
I see this daily. One day noticed a LC behind me weaving in and out of traffic. Goes swerving across lanes to slow lane, gets blocked, swerves to fast lanes, etc etc…we’ve all seen the drill. In reality “beating” me to our destination by 20 seconds max. At the next light I notice he has a boy, maybe 3 yrs old sitting on his lap pretend driving, The mother in the passenger seat. I motioned to him and he rolls down his window, still laughing at the cuteness of his young son “helping” him drive. I told him very politely that this was a bad idea and he WILL kill his beautiful son one day doing this. The response “F___ you motherf___er, it’s my country, I can do want I want.” Once light turns he burns rubber off the line cause he’s sure gonna show me and the rest of the world his mastery of driving and balancing a 3 yr old on his lap. And no seat belts either which wouldn’t help the 3 yr old anyway. Darwin Award Winners getting their award wouldn’t bother me so much if they didn’t take out so many innocents in the process.
When I was a child in the US…early 1970’s…we didn’t wear seatbelts. My children were born in the late 1990’s and were never out of a car seat or seat belt. A lot of it is habit and what you are used to. My father doesn’t wear one as he ‘doesn’t like the confining feeling’. I on the other hand feel more secure strapped in. I can’t imagine driving my kids around without car seats/seat belts and now that they are driving they wear seat belts out of habit. I also liked it better as a driver as I didn’t have to worry about the distractions of a kid climbing all over the car. For every argument there is a counterargument….it wrinkles their thobe? Wait until you see what an accident does, not to mention all of the blood. If adults don’t want to wear them I suppose it is their right, but there is no excuse for a parent or other responsible adult not protecting the lives of their children until they are an age where they can make their own decision. As for it taking time to be adopted…that argument only works for the early-adopters. The pioneers. They are the ones blazing the trail for the rest. The rest of us should learn from them without the long, painful learning curve they endured on our behalf.