Traffic Accidents Among Leading Causes of Death in Iran

Iran has one of the highest rates of road accidents in the world. Annually over 20,000 and people are killed and 800,000 people are injured in road crashes, with men comprising 75% of the figure, and mostly in the age group 25-40. 

Road accidents are the reason behind 40% of deaths among people of Tehran, and it is highest in District 6, located in midtown, said the head of Safety Promotion and Injury Prevention Research Center affiliated to Tehran's Shahid Beheshti University.

"Fatal accidents involving pedestrians have increased over the past few years in the capital city," Hamid Souri was quoted by Mehr News Agency as saying at a function on the occasion of the upcoming Fourth UN Global Road Safety Week (May 8-14).

The Safety Week will focus on vehicle speed and what can be done to address this key risk factors for road traffic deaths and injuries. High speed contributes to around one-third of all fatal road traffic crashes in high-income countries, and up to half in low- and middle-income countries.

“Road accidents are the third leading cause of death in the country… they also account for the highest years of potential life lost (YPLL) in Iran, which is an estimate of the average years a person would have lived if he or she had not died prematurely,” says Dr Iraj Harirchi, deputy minister of health.

About one-third of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults under the age of 30.

The regular pattern of traffic accident rates in some provinces indicates that provincial roads (especially in Fars, Khorasan Razavi, Tehran provinces) are not safe for driving.

About 60 to 65% of road accidents occur near cities rather than on highways and freeways,

Data released by the Iranian Legal Medicine Organization shows that Fars (1,360 deaths), Khorasan Razavi (1,055 death), Tehran (1,073 death), Isfahan (959 deaths), and Kerman (845 deaths) provinces had the highest rates of traffic-related deaths, during the eleven months to February 18, 2017.

The highest rates of traffic-related injuries in the same period were in the provinces of Tehran (33,260), Khorsan Razavi (25,877), Fars (23,002) and Isfahan (23,099).

Measures to Reduce Traffic Deaths in Iran

Based on figures released by the Traffic Control Information Center, human error like negligent driving (ignoring traffic lane discipline) or hogging the road and not giving way to drivers wanting to overtake, are the main reasons for 64% of the accidents. Dangerous roads and low-quality vehicles also are responsible for the road crashes and cutting down innocent lives.

“In order to enhance the safety of the Kazeroun-Bushehr road, which links Kazeroun in the southwest Fars Province to Bushehr, the capital of the southern Bushehr Province, we have established two police stations along the route,” said Colonel Ahmed Ahmadi, traffic police chief of the northern division of Fars Province.

Other safety measures are also being developed by traffic police to reduce road crashes on Kazeroun-Shiraz and Kazeroun-Farashband roads.  The road which connects Kazeroun and Shiraz has the highest rates of road crashes in the province.

The 160-km Chalus Road which connects Tehran via Karaj to the popular northern tourist resorts in Mazandaran Province and runs through the Alborz mountain range is another dangerous winding road.

Mehdi Mehrvar, director general of Alborz Province Crisis Management Office, said 60 accident points (prone to avalanche and landslides) have been identified along the road and “safety measures will be taken soon to address the problems.”

Boulevards and highways in the bigger cities (in particular Tehran) also have a record 17% and 13% of traffic accidents, respectively.

The winding Imam Ali Expressway, which links Artesh Expressway in the north to Ayatollah Madani Street in the south, is said to be one of the most precarious highways in the capital that is home to 12 million people. According to Tehran Traffic Police, drivers using the expressway are obliged to reduce speed to 80 km/h.

In the past two years, 2,200 new surveillance cameras were installed across the country to increase monitoring of arterial suburban roads to 30,000 km from 5,000 km in 2015. The cameras can record seven different types of violations (5 types in cities and 2 on suburban roads).

Additionally, cameras installed on the two main northern roadways of Chalus and Haraz, are able to record overtaking from the wrong side and other deviations.

Smart cameras have been installed on police cars patrols in city streets which capture violations and penalize offenders.

Also, some road surveillance cameras have been upgraded to ensure better performance in recording traffic violations.



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