The new speed limit sign Image Credit: Supplied

Manama: A decision by traffic police in Saudi Arabia to increase the speed limit on major highways will be implemented on Monday.

Under the decision, the maximum speed of 140 kilometres per hour has been set for cars, 100 kilometres per hour for buses and 80 kilometres per hour for trucks in both directions on four major highways across the vast kingdom.

The maximum speed limit has so far been 120 kilometres per hour, although it went up to 130 kilometres by hour in some places. The new 140km/h limit is unprecedented.

However, traffic police warned that the new limits does not necessarily pushing cars to drive at 140km/h, but it is rather an indication of the maximum speed allowed on highways.

Drivers have to exercise high levels of caution, particularly in wet, slippery and other adverse conditions, the police warned.

Full compliance with all traffic signals and rules is expected from all drivers in order to ensure their own safety and the safety of other people on highways, the police said in statements carried by Saudi media on Sunday.

Drivers have also been warned that the new higher speed limits would be applied in sections of the highways and not on all of them, urging drivers to follow the indications on signboards to avoid being booked for speeding.

The highways where the speed limit has been increased to 140km/h include Riyadh-Al Taif, Riyadh-Qassim, Makkah-Madinah, and Madinah-Jeddah.

The list does not include the highly frequented highways between Jeddah and Makkah, Madina and Qassim, and Riyadh and Dammam, the largest city in the Eastern Province.

Saudi Arabia hopes that the new measures would help limit the number of fatal accidents on highways and instill a better driving culture.

According to Saudi reports, 1,864 people died in accidents in the first ten months of last year, and the Ministry of Transport hopes to reduce the number of fatalities by 25 per cent by 2020.

In 2016, Saudi Arabia recorded 9,031 deaths in car accidents, an average of more than 24 deaths a day.