Saudi accident screenshot
Injuries in road accidents fell by 35 per cent. Image Credit: Courtesy Mecca Police/file

Dubai: Saudi Arabia has halved its traffic accident fatalities, according to a 2023 report from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Fahd Al Jalajel, Saudi Minister of Health and Chairman of the Traffic Safety Committee, announced that fatalities from traffic accidents decreased by 50 per cent while injuries fell by 35 per cent.

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The improvement comes as a result of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to enhance traffic safety and align with global standards. The reduction in fatalities and injuries can be attributed to several factors, including the improvement of infrastructure quality and adherence to enhanced traffic safety standards, combined with legislative, technical, awareness, and health initiatives.

Al Jalajel emphasized that these efforts have enabled Saudi Arabia to achieve the global road safety objective of reducing deaths from road accidents by half as of 2023, well ahead of the 2030 target set by the Second United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety.

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The WHO report further highlighted Saudi Arabia’s consistent progress in mitigating road accident fatalities over the past five years. From 9,311 deaths in 2016, the toll decreased to 6,651 in 2021, marking a notable 35 per cent reduction in injury rates.

In addition to safety measures, Saudi Arabia has focused on the economic implications of traffic accidents. Traffic accidents previously accounted for a loss of 4.7 per cent of the national product, a stark contrast to figures from Australia, England, and America, which did not exceed 1.7 per cent. Annually, traffic accidents are estimated to cost the Saudi economy about SR21 billion.

In response to these challenges, the General Authority for Roads launched the Saudi Road Code, a comprehensive technical reference for road planning, design, implementation, and maintenance across the kingdom. The Saudi Road Code aims to guide ministries and local authorities in enhancing road safety and includes specific provisions for the latest advancements such as self-driving vehicles.