The number of people killed on Qatar’s roads continued to climb in November, which saw one of the highest fatality counts for 2014, according to newly released official figures.
A total of 25 people died in traffic accidents during the month, the Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics (MDPS) said in its latest monthly statistics report.
This compares to 24 deaths in October. Both months show a marked spike in road fatalities compared to September, when there were 12 deaths as a result of car accidents. November’s count was the highest figure since April, when 29 people perished on Qatar’s roads.
The figures reflect a wider trend of an increase in all kinds of traffic accidents over recent months. There were 73 people injured in major accidents in November, compared to 59 in October and 36 in September. And 696 people were involved in minor accidents – up significantly from October’s figure of 603.
Violations down Despite these increases, the number of traffic violations for November dropped significantly from the previous month. The total number of recorded speeding offenses that month was 84,454, while there were 2,213 people caught for running traffic lights. The violations were down 9 percent and 15 percent on the previous month’s figures, respectively. Meanwhile, the number of people booked for not following traffic signs fell by 41 percent between October and November to 6,387.
These figures and trends come as Qatar’s population boom continues, and raise a number of questions about the effectiveness of attempts to improve road safety and reduce the number of deaths from traffic accidents.
Over the weekend, the Ministry of Interior’s Traffic Department said it would be deploying more unmarked cars in a bid to monitor and catch offenders.
The “civilian-looking” cars will apparently be equipped with cameras to record violations such as using mobile phones while driving, not buckling up, throwing trash from cars and seating children under the age of 10 years old in the front seats of the car.
Using Land Cruisers and Nissan Patrols, police will also be cracking down on those who overtake from the right, who drive and park on sidewalks, or park illegally in handicapped spots.
Retraction: On Jan. 8, we learned that the Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics had provided incorrect information on the number of traffic violations in November. The figures for November and October contained in the most recent report were, in fact, the same numbers the ministry had released the previous month for October and September. We’ve contacted the ministry to request the correct figures.
Update (Feb. 2): The ministry’s release for December contained new numbers for traffic violations in November. It states there were 80,979 radar charges, 2,182 incidents of drivers not following traffic signals and 8,983 cases of motorists not following traffic signs. That adds up to 135,587 total charges, down slightly from 136,497 in October.