Car accidents kill over 9,000 people in 2016

Updated 11 May 2017

Car accidents kill over 9,000 people in 2016

JEDDAH: Car accidents in 2016 killed 9,031 people, 12 percent of the total number of the 70,000 fatalities in the Kingdom in that year, with an average of over 25 deaths a day and one death an hour. The rate of increase is the highest since 2007.
The number of accidents in the same year increased by 2.8 percent compared to 2015 – from 518,000 to 533,000 – causing over 38,000 injuries with an average of 4.5 injuries an hour and 103 injuries a day, according to Aleqtisadiah newspaper report based on the data of the General Authority for Statistics and the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs.
Between 2006 and 2016, 78,487 people died from car accidents, constituting 12 percent of deaths in the kingdom in the same period.
However, since the implementation of the automated Saher system in 2010, a drop of more than a 37 percent in deaths rate caused by traffic accidents was recorded, according to a study by the Riyadh-based King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC).
“The introduction of Saher system has reduced the severity of traffic accident injuries by 20 percent and mortality rate by 37.8 percent,” said Sulaiman Al-Ghannam, principal investigator, while giving details of the new study.
The drop in road fatalities is the result of recent efforts of the Saudi government to improve urban mobility by investing in safe infrastructure including Saher system. Al-Ghannam said: “The motive for such studies is to evaluate laws aimed at traffic safety and provide evidence of their effectiveness. Motor vehicle accidents constitute 53 percent of the total injuries, causing 17 deaths a day, costing SR55 billion annually.”
He said that the study “provided evidence of relationship between implementing the Saher system and reducing the severity of injuries and the mortality rate due to traffic accidents.”
He added the study was based on the admission of traffic victims to different health facilities including the emergency ward of the King Fahad Hospital, King Abdulaziz Medical City and the Ministry of National Guard — Health Affairs facilities.
Al-Ghannam pointed out that due to the need to reduce the traffic accidents, KAIMRC established the first injury record in the Kingdom under the supervision of Ibrahim Al-Babtain to be the leading reference in the Gulf region for research in this field.
He also noted that King Abdulaziz City of Science and Technology (KACST) provides support for the program to manage and record injuries systematically. The Saher system has been implemented globally and has consistently reduced the mortality rate with 25 percent in average.


UK ambassador reflects on five ‘big years’ in Saudi Arabia

Outgoing UK Ambassador Simon Collis speaks during an interview with Arab News in Riyadh. (AN photo by Saleh Al-Ghanem)
Updated 27 January 2020

UK ambassador reflects on five ‘big years’ in Saudi Arabia

  • Gap between perception and reality of Kingdom, says Simon Collis

RIYADH: Britain’s outgoing ambassador to Saudi Arabia said it has been a privilege to be in the country for the last five years and witness the changes in the Kingdom firsthand.

Simon Collis joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1978 and has been an ambassador in Iraq, Syria and Qatar. He has also held senior diplomatic positions in Bahrain, Tunisia, Jordan, Dubai and India.
His diplomatic mission in Saudi Arabia began a week after King Salman came to the throne in January 2015. A personal highlight was performing the Hajj in 2016 with wife Huda.
The five years that we’ve been here have been five big years, not only for us but five big years ... in the history of Saudi Arabia and certainly in the relationship with the UK,” he told Arab News. “It’s been just a wonderful time.”
He said there used to be concern about the role of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, known as the Mutawa’a or religious police, and its unchecked power.
“There were people that would be nervous about it. There was no music in public places, there was no mixing in restaurants. In 2015 no one would have imagined just how much these changes would be, first with (the reform plan) Vision 2030, then economic, and also social changes, women driving, the removal of the guardianship laws across pretty much everything, and the balancing role of the Mutawa’a.”
He welcomed the government’s emphasis on developing the entertainment and cultural sectors, calling it a “tremendous story,” and said he had enjoyed witnessing the Kingdom’s transformation.
“To see the enthusiasm in a young country, I think a lot of these new sectors, creative entertainment, on top of the existing ones like education, have been a delight to see. Of course, it’s not finished yet. I think this period, these five years, will look like a big moment in the history of the Kingdom.”
Changes in the Kingdom have attracted interest — and greater visitor numbers — from overseas.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Simon Collis joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1978 and has been an ambassador in Iraq, Syria and Qatar.

• He has also held senior diplomatic positions in Bahrain, Tunisia, Jordan, Dubai and India.

• His diplomatic mission in Saudi Arabia began a week after King Salman came to the throne in January 2015.

• A personal highlight was performing the Hajj in 2016 with wife Huda.

The country is gaining a reputation for hosting massive events featuring the world’s biggest names including boxing match Clash On The Dunes pitting Britain’s Anthony Joshua against Mexican-American Andy Ruiz Jr, the electronic dance music festival MDL Beast featuring David Guetta and Steve Aoki, and concerts from K-Pop megastars BTS and Super Junior.
The ambassador said there was a gap between the perception of the Kingdom and the country’s on-the-ground reality.
“In any country, there is a gap between the perception that the image that exists in the world, and the reality that you find. This is true of any country. That gap between the perception and reality has been bigger in relation to Saudi Arabia than to any other country that I’ve lived in. So, the result is once people visit and they see for themselves, then they change their overall perception. They change their minds, and this is a very powerful thing.”
Tens of thousands of UK nationals visit the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah every year to perform Hajj and Umrah, but the reasons to visit the country are increasing.
Collis said that 43,000 people from the UK had taken advantage of a new e-visa system launched last October to visit Saudi Arabia, the highest number in the world.
“Every year we’ve seen the number of Saudi nationals visiting the UK increase, now it’s coming the other way,” Collis said. “With a population of less than 70 million, and it’s the No. 1 country visiting Saudi Arabia more than any other country, I’m very proud of that. I would say that of the hundreds and thousands of British people who I have met visiting Saudi Arabia for the first time, every single person I have met has left with a more positive (outlook) than the one that they arrived with. So, more visits must mean more people have a better idea of the realities of this country, society and its people.”
Collis said he had met many Saudis and forged friendships with them. People in the Kingdom had integrity and were straightforward, and the ambassador had special praise for the younger generation saying there was a “natural enjoyment” when he sat with them to talk. They were very aware, he added.

NUMBER

43,000 - people from the UK had taken advantage of a new e-visa system launched last October to visit Saudi Arabia, the highest number in the world.

His regard for young Saudis is evident. He launched the Alumni Awards, which recognize Saudi students who have returned to the Kingdom, excelled and succeeded in their professions or made an impact in their communities. With more than 100,000 Saudis studying in the UK over the last 10 years, the program will be developed in order to increase engagement with them once they return to Saudi Arabia.
The national and global awards initiative is aimed at showcasing the impact and value of a UK higher education, and winners and finalists are leaders in their fields.
“The Alumni Awards are fun. What the award looks at, whether it’s an entrepreneur or professional or social category, it’s not what did you do in the UK with your studies, it’s when you got your qualification, what did you do in Saudi Arabia when you came back. How did you use it? It’s about what use you put it to, not what you get, but how did you use it to further your own career, your life and that of your community and others around you,” Collis said.
Collis is succeeded as the UK’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia by Neil Crompton, who takes up the role next month.