Human Error, Poor Roads Major Cause of Mishaps

Human Error, Poor Roads  Major Cause of MishapsHuman Error, Poor Roads  Major Cause of Mishaps

Four common causes, statistics show, contribute to the vast majority of car collisions in the country: human error (52%), roadway design (30%), vehicle failure (13%) and environment (5%).

In several parts of the country, especially in arid, forested and mountainous areas, roads are poorly constructed with many structural shortcomings that need urgent infrastructural overhaul.  

"A mishap should not seal a driver's fate on the roads. A survey carried out last year (ended March 20) by Tehran Traffic Police, shows 156,000 road accidents were registered, of which 52,000 (one-third) were due to poor road conditions and 78,000 or half of the accidents, were due to human errors," Fararu website reported.

Traffic and road engineering are not in the purview of the Tehran Traffic Police. It is the responsibility of the Roads and Urban Development Ministry to take necessary action to address the shortcomings of Iran's motorways.

Many road stretches are in poor condition, posing serious safety risks for motorists and vehicles. While main roads in cities are in need of asphalting and repairs, rural roads are also neglected and need realignment. Many back roads need to be leveled and sand sprayed. Traction is rarely possible during inclement weather including heavy rain, moisture, cold and fog, high winds, making driving difficult or even impossible.

  Lane Discipline

On the other hand, lack of sufficient lane discipline, traffic signals, road markings and guardrails reduce road safety.

Minister of Roads and Urban Development, Abbasahmad Akhundi, says 40% of the roads in the country are in a poor state. "Only a small fraction of the budget has been allocated to maintaining the road network."

The ministry has taken measures to improve motorways through better lighting and asphalting.

Akhundi said since the past 2.5 years, the ministry is giving priority to develop Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) throughout the country and 1,880 smart cameras were installed last year. Every 20 km of the country's main roads are now equipped with ITS.

Asphalting and renovating roadways are also a priority. Last year, 10 million tons of asphalt was used for road realignment which is likely to reach 26 million tons this year.

An additional 20,000 km is required to meet the national demand for roadways. On average, a meter of road, freeway and highway, costs $340, $680 and $1,012 respectively. In total, $17.6 million would be needed to construct 26,000 km of additional freeways.

 Successful experiences in countries such as Sweden indicate that a substantial decline in road accidents would require simultaneous boosting of vehicle safety and roadways.