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EghtesadOnline: Iran’s road accident death count has declined by 14% in the eight months ending Nov. 20, as Covid-19 has curbed road travels.

Data released by the Iranian Legal Medicine Organization reveal that 10,775 people died in road accidents during the period. Figures show a 13.96% decline compared with the corresponding time of last year, during which 12,523 individuals died in road accidents.

According to the report, men account for 8,832 mortalities and the remaining 1,943 were women. 

LMO’s charts indicate that the southern province of Fars tops the provinces with 821 traffic-related deaths, followed by Tehran Province with 796 and Isfahan with 709 lost lives. 

A closer review of numbers demonstrates that the road fatality rate in Fars was down 13.85% compared with the period last year, dropping from 953 to 821. 

Similarly, figures in Tehran show a 9.55% decline, from 880 road deaths reported last year to 796. The death rate in Isfahan registered a 16.39% decline, from 848 a year ago to 709.

Ilam, Kohgilouyeh-Boyerahmad and Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari provinces had the lowest mortality with 73, 127 and 143 deaths respectively during the time under review.

All the three provinces have recorded a decline in road deaths. The figures fell significantly by 50.54% in Ilam, and Kohgilouyeh-Boyerahmad and Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari registered a decrease of 23.95% and 15.38% respectively.

Monthly comparisons also illustrate an 8.1% decline in traffic crash mortalities. During the month ending Nov. 21, 1,376 people lost their lives during car accidents, while the year-ago month figures hit 1,497.

Of the total mortalities in the eighth month, men accounted for 1,143 fatalities and the remaining 233 cases were women.



Contributing Factors

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 in 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.



Road Analysis

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 are involved in almost 80% of the road mishaps and they account for around 46% of road crash fatalities.

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 such areas. 

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


Road pandemic Mobility