Saudi sees accident loss up
Riyadh, June 25, 2007
The annual loss due to traffic accidents in Saudi Arabia could mount to SR55 billion ($14.98 billion) by 2020, warned a top Saudi researcher.
Naif Al-Shammary called upon the authorities to take appropriate steps to curb accidents on Saudi’s roads.
'Road accidents cost Saudi Arabia’s economy SR21 billion ($5.72 billion) a year and are one of the biggest problems facing the Kingdom,' Al Shammary was quoted as saying in the Arab News.
According to official figures, in 2006 around one person died every hour in Saudi Arabia as a result of road accidents.
'Every year, over 30,000 people get injured on these roads,' he said.
'Of them about 6 to 7 per cent become permanently handicapped. This means that every year about 2,000 become permanently handicapped and remain like that,” he observed.
As per statistics, traffic accidents cause material losses worth SR21 billion, which is 4.7 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), he added.
Al Shammary pointed out that economic losses from these accidents were twice that of developed nations.
'We can imagine the great social impact of road accidents as they claim lives of at least 4,000 people and cause injuries to 30,000 others every year,' he said.
He said the Kingdom was running short of doctors or paramedics to deal with the soaring number of accidents.
He appealed authorities to make more investment in the country’s ambulance service, the Saudi Red Crescent Society (SRCS), as attends less than half of road accidents.
According to him, Saudi Arabia also lacked a national centre for traffic research.