79,500 crippled by accidents in 2017


Saudi Gazette report

— The latest report from the General Authority for Statistics (GaStat) has shown that 79,509 people became disabled in the Kingdom in 2017 as a result of road accidents.

The report published by Makkah newspaper on Wednesday said 80 percent of these people would have to live the rest of their lives with the disabilities.

The report said most of the accidents occurred due to speeding or the use of cell phones while driving.

Dr. Abdulhameed Al-Mojel, chairman of Saudi Traffic Society, said the Traffic Department announced that the Saher cameras would start issuing fines for drivers who do not fasten the seat belt or who use the cell phones while behind the wheel.

"Using the cell phone while driving on the road is the most frequent cause of road accidents in the Kingdom. The new traffic violations that will go into effect soon will help reduce the number of accidents. Many countries that strictly enforce regulations on drivers have succeeded in reducing the number of road accidents," he said.

Dr. Ahmad Al-Wazzan, chairman of Saudi Society of Emergency Medicine, said road accidents cause young men to lose their productivity at work. "Because of accidents, around 11 million workdays are lost, which is equal to 38,500 years," he said.

"If 79,000 people in their 20s become incapacitated by injuries caused by road accidents, the Saudi labor market will lose 11 million work days, which is a huge loss that should not be underestimated. Moreover, the long rehabilitation program will cost the government a lot of money," Al-Wazzan said.

Brain injuries are the gravest of injuries caused by accidents as they can have a negative impact on several functions of the body, especially cognitive abilities. It is usually difficult to rehabilitate people with brain injuries as rehabilitation can take many years before the person can cope with his life.