They were once some of the deadliest roads in the region, but according to authorities an increase in speed cameras, traffic lights and other measures has resulted in a huge drop in the number of traffic related fatalities.
Qatar‘s traffic department has managed to successfully reduce the number of road deaths in the country, according to authorities there’s been a 64% drop in traffic related fatalities over the past ten years.
The Gulf nation recorded 4 deaths per 100,000 population in 2020, compared to 11.3 in 2010, which translates into a decrease of 64.4 percent.
The encouraging figures are attributed to the government’s efforts of adopting new road strategies to ensure safety, including implementing new traffic signals, expanding roads, introducing stricter driving license requirements, and installing high-tech speed traps.
Months of partial lockdown could have also contributed to the decrease in numbers in the last two years, given that most of the population was working from home for a long period of time in 2020 and 2021.
To keep on track, a further 25 percent reduction by next year has also been set by authorities to avert what are preventable deaths and injuries on the roads, a UN official revealed.
“I commend the government of Qatar for its ambitious goal to reduce fatalities by an additional 25% by next year. As the host for the 2022 World Cup, you have a big platform to show your commitment to safe, clean, and sustainable mobility,” said Jean Todt, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety.
Read also: This Qatari city has won a ‘UNESCO Learning City 2021’ award.
The figures were announced on Sunday to mark the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims—dedicated to millions of road traffic victims throughout the world under the theme ‘Remember – Support – Act’.
Adopted by UN General Assembly Resolution 60/5 on 26th October 2005, the day aims to promote safe driving and raise awareness regarding the dangers of road accidents that cause thousands of deaths around the world.
Decade of Action
Globally, road traffic accidents have remained a major cause of death with more than 3500 people losing their lives every day on the roads, which amounts to nearly 1.3 million preventable deaths and an estimated 50 million injuries each year – making it the leading killer of children and young people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation.
If no action is taken in the next decade, experts estimate there could be around 13 million more deaths and 500 million injuries, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
The worrying statistics have pushed governments from around the world, Qatar included, to declare unanimously – through UN General Assembly Resolution 74/299 – the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, an ambitious goal of reducing road traffic deaths and injuries by at least 50% during that period.
The Global Plan outlines recommended actions and policies that have proven effective for decreasing road fatalities as well as preventing road trauma.
“It should be used as a blueprint to inform and inspire national and local plans that are tailored to local contexts, available resources, and capacity. The Global Plan is aimed not only at senior policy-makers, but also other stakeholders who can influence road safety, such as civil society, academia, the private sector, and community and youth leaders,” WHO stated on its website.
Qatar’s road safety efforts and strong strategies are expected to lead the country into a more sustainable path— a prominent goal for its 2030 vision.