By: Abdul-Aziz Al-Haiagem
Yemeni government officials have announced that 1,045 people were killed and 5197 injured in traffic accidents during the first half of 2012. According to local observers, the number exceeds the number of protest in 2011, and also that the number of victims of highways accidents since 2000 totals 30,000.
Security expert Mohammed Saleh said the total number of traffic accident victims far exceeded the number of victims of armed conflict. “The recent victims of traffic accidents are much more than those in the 26th of September Revolution, the war of 1994, the six Sa’ada wars, and finally the 2011 protests,” he said.
Regarding the causes of the traffic accidents, the Interior Ministry stated that Qat chewing while driving was one of the basic reasons for the increase in traffic accidents in Yemen.
“There are other reasons for traffic accidents, including the use of cell phones, sudden technical malfunctions, heavy rains and driving at excessive speeds,” added a ministry official.
Abu-Bakr Al-Amoodi, the Director General of Traffic, spoke about difficulties that the traffic administration faces in performing its job. “Some of the difficulties we encounter are the lack of traffic signs on the long roads and problems with traffic lights due to continuous power outages,” he stated.
Al-Amoodi added that some drivers’ lack of understanding of traffic signs and children driving cars are other factors that have contributed to the increased number of victims.