KSA’s traffic accident deaths, injuries decrease in 2018

Road accidents have been blamed largely on reckless driving and use of cellular phones while driving. (AN file photo)
Updated 12 March 2019

KSA’s traffic accident deaths, injuries decrease in 2018

  • Interior Ministry has set target to reduce road-related deaths to eight per 100,000
  • World Health Organization official says KSA still has one of the highest rates of road deaths

RIYADH: The number of deaths and injuries caused by traffic accidents in Saudi Arabia fell between 2017 and 2018, the Ministry of the Interior (MoI) said on Monday.

At a presentation to the 2019 Traffic Safety Conference in Riyadh, the MoI revealed the number of deaths in the Kingdom had dropped from over 7,000 in 2017 to 6,025 in 2018, with traffic-related injuries down almost 10 percent to around 30,000.

Traffic safety experts from all over the world are taking part in the three-day conference, including from the US, Europe, Japan and South Korea.

Dr. Nhan Tran, Unintentional Injury Prevention coordinator at the World Health Organization, told Arab News: “Saudi Arabia actually has one of the highest rates of road deaths in the world, with 28 people dying for every 100,000,” he added, recommending stronger speeding restrictions and more public transport to solve the problem. 

Mike Dreznes, the executive vice president of the International Road Federation, told Arab News that the main cause of accidents in the Kingdom was reckless driving, and that education in this area was essential to avoid unnecessary tragedies.

He added that the country needed to emulate the safest nations in the world, like Sweden, the UK and the Netherlands, where greater driver scrutiny and awareness meant road deaths were only around three per 100,000 people.

The MoI has set a target to reduce road-related fatalities to eight per 100,000 as part of the government’s Vision 2030 program.


Houthi threat to holy sites in Makkah condemned

Updated 6 min 47 sec ago

Houthi threat to holy sites in Makkah condemned

  • Iran-backed militias have no qualms about attacking the holiest place in Islam, says analyst
  • This is not the first time that Houthi militias have targeted Makkah, having fired on the city in July 2017

JEDDAH: The Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces intercepted and destroyed two missiles launched from Yemen by Iran-aligned Houthi militias on Monday. 

The missiles were reported to have been heading toward Makkah and Jeddah. 

A spokesman for the Arab Coalition said that the missiles were destroyed over Taif in the early morning, and that fragments from the first projectile had landed in Wadi Jalil, a valley that extends toward Makkah.

Residents in Jeddah told Arab News that they heard a loud blast early on Monday morning.

This is not the first time that Houthi militias have targeted Makkah, having fired on the city in July 2017.

Videos circulating on social media reportedly show the second missile being intercepted and destroyed in the skies over King Abdulaziz International Airport.

Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry denounced the Houthi attack and commended the Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces for their vigilance. 

Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, a Riyadh-based Saudi political analyst and international relations scholar, said: “This isn’t the first time that the Houthis and their masters in Tehran have fired missiles close to the holy city of Makkah.” 

They have no qualms about attacking the holiest place in Islam, he added. 

“They care nothing for the sanctity of the holy month of Ramadan. What they did today, and what they did in the past, clearly reveal their sinister designs to strike at the heart of the Muslim world,” Al-Shehri said.

“Now is the time for all Muslim nations in the world to come to the defense of the holy land. Our sacred places are under attack from Iran, the Houthis and their militias,” he added.

“Mere condemnation won’t do. Iran and the Houthis have crossed a red line, and this calls for deterrent action against Tehran,” he said.

Yemen’s internationally recognized government also condemned the Houthis’ attempt to target Makkah, calling it “a full-fledged terrorist attack.”

Monday’s aggression came as Saudi Arabia warned that recent drone attacks against its oil-pumping stations by the Houthis will jeopardize UN peace efforts in Yemen and lead to further escalation in the region.

Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, Saudi ambassador to the UN, said “seven explosive drones” directed by the Houthis attacked pumping stations on May 14 in the cities of Dawadmi and Afif “on the east-west oil pipeline that transfers Saudi oil to Yanbu port and to the rest of the world.”

He urged UN Security Council members, in a letter circulated on Monday, “to disarm this terrorist militia in order to prevent the escalation of these attacks which increase regional tensions and raise the risks of a broader regional confrontation.”

Al-Shehri said Monday’s attack is a reminder to Muslim nations about the clear and present danger from Iran.  “Tehran timed the attack just as King Salman has called for a meeting in Makkah to discuss the threat from Iran to the Muslim world,” Al-Shehri said.

Saudi security forces have intercepted and destroyed 227 ballistic missiles launched by the Houthis at the Kingdom since 2015.