Safety alert as Bahrain crash deaths mount
Manama, May 24, 2014
A new safety appeal has gone out after it emerged 55 people died in Bahrain last year because of drivers jumping red lights.
This took the death toll from such incidents to 130 in just two years, with 75 people killed under similar circumstances in 2012.
The alarming figures were revealed to parliament by Minister of State for Interior Affairs Major General Adel Al Fadhel, who said there were 20,000 incidents of drivers ignoring red lights last year, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
A spokeswoman for the Facebook campaign group 'Arrogance and Negligence on Our Roads', Lee Ann Fleetwood, backed plans for harsher sentences for traffic offenders - and said the law must be enforced.
"Jumping red lights is only one cause of traffic accidents," said the American expatriate, who has lived in Bahrain on and off for 22 years.
"Other causes of accidents include lane changing at high speeds, high speeds in general, pulling out or doing U-turns without looking - the list is long and the only way to get people to change is to enforce the law every time with harsh penalties."
"I thank my stars every time I get home safely, which happens not because other drivers don't try very hard to make me just another statistic, but I drive defensively and never let my guard down. To do otherwise is far too dangerous."
A tougher traffic law is now on the cards having already been approved by MPs. The 64-article draft law, which has been pending for seven years, includes much tougher penalties that would quadruple some punishments for motoring offences in Bahrain.
Some of the proposed punishments include jail terms of up to six months and fines of up to BD500, or both, for deliberately jumping a red light.
However, whether or not it gets passed depends on whether parliament and the Shura Council can agree on disputed articles that include banning some expatriates from getting driving licences.
The Bahrain Health and Safety Society says most accidents take place because of negligence, speeding, using mobile phones while driving and jumping red lights.
Statistics compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO) show the Middle East region is second only to Africa in terms of road fatalities.-TradeArabia News Service