Browsing 'road safety' News

Satheesh/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Traffic police are adding more mobile radars to Qatar’s roads, making it harder for speeding motorists to avoid getting caught and fined.

In a statement last week, the Ministry of Interior warned drivers about the new strategy, saying the addition of extra radars is to “encourage the public to adhere to specified speed limits.”

Not doing so can result in a QR500 fine.

Frederik/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The crackdown on speedsters comes as Qatar’s roads appear to be growing less perilous.

Fewer people were killed in traffic accidents last year, and the overall number of accidents and traffic offenses also fell.

However, motorists still racked up more than 1.6 million tickets for bad driving in 2016.

Problem areas

Because mobile radars are often installed in vehicles, which police can park at any location, they are harder for motorists to spot.

So unlike with fixed radars, one cannot simply slow down, pass the device and then speed up again.

Each morning, the MOI has been tweeting the general location of the mobile radars.

Ashghal

Dukhan Highway

The first areas to get the devices included Kharara Road, Al Wakrah-Mesaieed Highway and Al Shamal Highway.

Dukhan and Salwa were added to the list later on last week.

Is the presence of mobile radars forcing you to slow down? Thoughts?

Ashghal

New bridge on E-Ring Road

Qatar is in the process of setting up a new bridge on E-Ring Road to help pedestrians cross the area safely, the country’s public works authority has said.

The 66m-long bridge is located between Al Thumama intersection and the junction between Airport and E-Ring roads.

So far, the steel structure has been put into place.

Ashghal said it is adding finishing touches such as elevators to the bridge and aims to open it to traffic by the second quarter of this year.

Ashghal

Al Thumama intersection, February 2016

In a statement, it added that several tall trees are being installed in the area to ensure the privacy of residents whose homes are visible from the bridge.

More bridges on the way

Last year, authorities said some 15 new pedestrian bridges are going to be built around Doha and its suburbs soon.

They will include facilities such as ATMs, toilets, shops and restaurants.

QNA

Rendering of new pedestrian bridges

At the time, officials did not say where they would be located or provide a timeline for their opening.

But the bridges are widely seen as a way to improve safety and reduce pedestrian fatalities.

Some 57 pedestrians were killed in Qatar road crashes last year, comprising about a third of all 2016 road traffic deaths, according to the Ministry of Interior.

Area improvements

The upcoming E-Ring bridge is also part of ongoing efforts to overhaul E-Ring Road and Najma St., Ashghal said.

So far, some 90 percent of the planned works have been completed. This includes the development of:

  • 3km of Najma St. from Nuaija Intersection toward F-Ring Road);
  • 3.3km of E-Ring Road, including the conversion of Al Thumama roundabout to a signalized intersection; and
  • Infrastructure improvements, such as developing drainage networks.

Thoughts?

Satheesh/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Driving on Qatar’s roads appears to be getting less perilous, with the number of road deaths, accidents and traffic offenses all falling in 2016.

According to the Ministry of Interior (MOI), some 178 people in Qatar died in traffic-related accidents last year. That’s down 22 percent from the 227 killed in 2015.

Officials attributed the decline in deaths to better ambulance response, more police patrols and an increase in the number of radars around Qatar.

Fewer drivers on the roads could also be playing a factor, thanks to several licensing restrictions passed over the last few years.

KTC/Sensys Gatso

New speed radars

Meanwhile, even though they surged toward the end of 2016, overall traffic offenses dropped nearly 5 percent from the year before. These numbered 1,643,209, down from 1,720,735.

And the total number of road accidents also fell in 2016 by 7.8 percent in comparison with 2015.

Cause of death

According to the MOI, some 95 percent of the people killed in road accidents last year were men, while 5 percent were women.

Notably, though Qataris only account for about 10 percent of the population, they are dying in disproportionate numbers on the roads.

HMC/Facebook

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

QNA reports that 16 percent of the people who died last year in road accidents were Qataris.

Asians accounted for some 54 percent of the deaths, while non-GCC Arabs comprised 22 percent.

Officials cited speeding, lack of discipline and tailgating as key causes of road deaths last year.

Not wearing a seatbelt also contributed to injury and death.

Speaking to the Qatar Tribune, the head of the Traffic Department Brig. Mohammad Saad al Kharji said mandating seatbelt usage for backseat passengers is now under study.

Pessimistic view

Even though the roads appear to be growing safer, some residents continue to believe otherwise.

In November, a survey found that many Qatar drivers continue to engage in dangerous practices such as speeding, tailgating and using a mobile phone while behind the wheel.

Lubaib Gazir/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

However, fewer people than in the previous edition of the Qatar Road Safety Monitor did say their morning commute was improving.

The observation comes as public works authority Ashghal builds new routes across Qatar and replaces roundabouts in Doha with signal-controlled intersections to make the junctions less dangerous.

Have you noticed improved road conditions? Thoughts?