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EghtesadOnline: Iran’s road accident death rate has declined by almost 16%, as Covid-19 has curbed land-based travel.

Data released by the Iranian Legal Medicine Organization reveal that 7,891 people lost their lives in road accidents in the six months ending Sept. 21. 

The road-related death rate has declined by 15.7% compared with the corresponding period of last year, during which 9,357 people died in road accidents. 

According to the report, men account for 6,446 fatalities and the remaining 1,445 cases were women. 

A comparative look at LMO’s charts shows that the capital city of Tehran tops the provinces with 597 traffic-related deaths, followed by Fars Province with 585 and Khorasan Razavi with 517 deaths. 

A closer look at the numbers shows the road fatality rate in Tehran was down 8.9% compared with the period of last year, which dropped from 655 to 597. 

Similarly, figures in Fars show a 21.3% decline, from 743 road deaths reported last year to 585 in the current year. The death rate in Khorasan Razavi registered a 24.2% decline, from 682 a year ago to 517 this year.

Ilam, Kohgilouyeh-Boyerahmad and Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari provinces had the lowest fatality rates with 51, 93 and 114 deaths respectively in the first half of the current year.

All the three provinces have recorded declines in road death rates. The figures fell by 26.1% in Ilam, while Kohgilouyeh-Boyerahmad and Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari registered a decrease of 29% and 9.5% respectively.

In another category, LMO reports that of the total road deaths, 2,075 occurred in urban thoroughfares, 5,242 on intercity roads and 533 on village paths. Figures in all the three classes have declined by 66%, 14.2% and 31.7% respectively. 

 

 

Culprits

Traffic police have long blamed domestic automakers, as the poor quality of their products and their inaction toward road tragedies continue to take a constant toll.

Car buyers and the general public for years have censured local manufacturers for the poor quality of their cars, but their complaints have fallen on deaf ears.

Last year, LMO published a report on the role of small city car Pride, manufactured by automaker SAIPA, in road fatalities. 

The report showed that road accidents claimed 206,049 lives in the 11-year period ending March 2019, 34% of which died in a Pride.

SAIPA says it has sold over 7 million Prides since its production started in 1993 in Iran. Pride is based on a Kia Motor hatchback from the 1980s, the production of which was halted by the South Korean firm in 2000.

The same level of concern pertains to the low-quality Peugeot 405 model made by Iran Khodro Company.

Although these models were excluded from the automakers’ production list in early August, dangerous cars are still plying the country’s roads and claiming innocent lives. 

Dilapidated vehicles used in the public transportation fleet, especially urban and inter-city buses, have a big share in road accidents.

Speaking at a recent meeting, Roads Minister Mohammad Eslami said sleep-deprivation (fatigue), speeding, overtaking from the wrong side, running a red light, talking on cellphone, text messaging and munching behind the wheel together with low-quality vehicles and roads are the main factors leading to road crashes.

Motorcyclists and their dangerous driving habits considerably contribute to the increasing number of road victims, he added.

Motorbikes are used for moving parcels and passengers in Iran and have been a major nuisance to residents of cities because most bikers disregard traffic and safety rules.

Unsafe driving, alongside those who enter sidewalks, endangers the life of both motorcycle drivers and pedestrians, as the High Council for Coordination of Urban Traffic said earlier, motorcyclists and pedestrians constitute almost 80% of the road mishaps. 

 

 

Road Analysis

Last year, the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development released the result of its road analysis, saying the country has over 5,400 accident-prone areas, more than half of which are in urban areas.

In a bid to help safeguard lives, an application was launched to notify drivers of imminent danger when getting close to accident-prone areas. 

The app notifies them some 800 meters before reaching the black spots. 

Despite the unrelenting efforts, stringent traffic and driving rules, bigger penalties for rough and lawless drivers, bigger and broader roads, new highways and underpasses, the dire situation remains unchanged and people keep on dying in road mishaps.

 

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