Punish those who commit traffic violations



During the opening of the recent traffic safety conference in Riyadh, I happened to sit next to Mr. Michael Dreznes, Executive Vice-President of the International Road Federation, who I later learned had previously worked in Saudi Arabia at different times and knows the country very well. I asked him about the most important problems facing our roads and safety. He said that we are number one in the world when it comes to accidents and death, which is very disturbing. It is a problem resulting from mistakes in planning roads and in the number of drivers who violate traffic regulations.

He showed me on his phone samples of these problems such as the concrete barriers that protect lampposts on some roads. He told me that they are a death trap and increase the possibility of death on the road.

He raised an important point in my opinion, which is that the movement of traffic should not be regulated by increasing the maximum speed limit. The more the speed limit is increased, the greater the possibility of fatal accidents. He gave an example of average and minimum speed limits inside cities in other countries.

I asked him the best way to urge drivers to respect traffic rules. He said that first we needed to make sure they understood these rules. The aim is not to punish violators as much as it is to limit the number of violations.

I told him that the issue was not linked to the awareness of drivers as violating drivers are often seen respecting traffic rules abroad when they travel. Is punishment the only way to deal with violations, I asked?

He gave me examples of experiences in other countries that have succeeded in limiting violations. In Finland, for example, traffic fines are linked to a violator’s income level and they increase if his salary increases. In Switzerland, the only way to avoid jail is to avoid violations.

The more we talked about traffic safety, the main point that we returned to was punishing violators as the main element in ensuring respect for the law.

Twitter: @K_Alsuliman‬‬‬‬‬‬‬