Regions RTA deaths keep soaring

Diverse populations in the region, and therefore diverse driving habits, may be attributed to the rising number of fatalities across the Middle East.

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By  Stuart Qualtrough Published  August 2, 2005

During the last century, the Middle East has experienced unprecedented economic and social growth. As a result of this, there has been a disproportional increase in immigration and population, which has contributed to the rising congestion on our roads today. With diverse populations comes equally diverse driving habits, which may be attributed to the rising number of fatalities across the Middle East. Injury and deaths due to road traffic accidents are a major public health problem and are the most common single cause of unintentional trauma in developing countries. According to the 2005 report, “Road Traffic Accidents in the UAE compared to Western Countries”, fatalities in the UAE per 100,000 vehicles are ten times higher than the UK, six times higher then the USA, and four times higher than Qatar. Careless driving, excessive speed and tailgating are the main factors resulting in these worrying statistics. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Bank (WB) have recently launched the Arabic version of the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention revealing disturbing statistics on the number of road fatalities across the Arab world. Trauma prevention programmes such as initiatives to standardise the use of seat belts, drink-driving bans, speed cameras and mandatory use of crash helmets, are a crucial component in a countries strategy to reduce road traffic accidents. The development of a benchmark emergency medical services strategy in a rapidly developing region such as the Middle East is critical. The Dubai Police Ambulance Service will present to an upcoming conference detailing their strategy on implementing a system to reduce emergency services response times including the proposal to introduce medics on motorcycles from July 2005. Since its creation in 1975, the Dubai Police Ambulance Service has transformed itself from a service providing two emergency vehicles to a service manned by 205 medics, 111 ambulance drivers, 19 stations and 30 ambulances.

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