Street Terrorism

30 May, '10

A sample of just today's news about road accidents in Bahrain... (Al-Wasat Online)

Disclaimer: I’m not the safest nor the best driver on the road. I sometimes speed, change lanes without signaling and talk on the phone. I do; however, regard myself as better than average and most certainly better than the twerps who drive on hard-shoulders or pavements and those who drive with children on their lap and have a feast while doing so.

Still, those are not an excuse for my bad driving and I promise you that I shall exert more efforts to improve both my driving and my road manners.

Why? Because probably like you, I’m fed up of noting the escalating number of fatal accidents on our roads. They could be prevented with a little bit of thought, and the clear and strict application of the law. So rather than having the traffic police clearing roads for dignitaries, divert them all to book and fine road traffic violators. I’m sure that with this and a little bit of traffic awareness programs, the needless loss of life and injuries due to road accidents will be controlled and then eventually reduced.

This is a video forwarded to me by my good friend Hameed Karimi. I thought it’s very much worth sharing with you here, it puts traffic accidents and their effect on Saudi society into stark perspective. It is very relevant here too and hope that it will inspire you to be more aware of your driving and the road.

Please join me in promising to try to be better and more considerate drivers. For your sake.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Matthew says:

    Is there mandatory driver education amongst the Gulf states? What is the minimum age to obtain a license? Is there strict, impartial enforcement of driving infractions?

    Here in Canada I would suspect a large number of accidents are caused by a) speeding b) inexperience and c) drunk driving

    A) can be combated through enforcement b) is likely never to be entirely eliminated as young people will be young people c) has been very effectively reduced as it is now socially unacceptable to drink and drive – not to mention the courts wgich routinely “throw the book” at drunk drivers.

    • mahmood says:

      Hi Matthew, yes the minimum age is 18 and it is mandatory in Bahrain to go through driver school before you get your license. But for the most part, that is a minimum requirement and the passing of the test is not that onerous. I could tell you stories of what my employees go through because they’re not Bahraini – they get to resit it countless times. Myself, I have no idea how I passed my test all those years ago!

      Drunk driving does contribute to road accidents and they don’t take those lightly here either. It’s a fine of BD500 and the suspension of the license for a period of time.

      But the problem with us is that enforcement is rather weak and you get away with minimal fines. If those alone were increased and people were actually stopped and penalised, it might get better. We don’t have a “point system” either, so you just pay the minimum fine and off you go to the next one.

  2. Matthew says:

    Points work (he opines 😉 perhaps because the idiots who “race” or run stop signs/lights quickly hit the magic number and lose their privilege to drive but the folks who have occasional problems have time to understand their failing and correct it.

    I’ve always believed retesting of drivers well before their age would suggest it might help but the cost and inconvenience seems to prevent it.

  3. moose says:

    i think the government did try to make things alittle better but at the end of the day it made things worse by putting the police on commision for how many arrests/ fines they make, i had a friend who drove out of the ritz on a friday morning, who hadn’t been drinking or anything like that, so she was pulled over and the police walked up to her asked her if she had been drink ‘no’ she replied after a few more words they then said well your tax disc is expired, which whe then pointed out it wasnt, then they turned around and said ‘oh you were tlkin on your mobile whilst driving’ ‘sorry but no i wasn’t let me get my phone out of my hand bag which is in the back seat of my car and show you the last call and text’ either way you get the picture she then got fined bd50 for basically being in the wrong place at the wrong time but anyways the one thing they need to do is enhance the driving tests, there needs to be a proper theory test and proper driving test, i have 2 licenses a bahraini one and a uk one i sat a test for both and was quite shocked and a little horrified at how much i didnt know when it came to doing my uk license, i did fail my first bahraini test which i know is seen as impossible in most cases but past my uk first time around. but that is was needs to happen a stricter test, i know it wont stop saudis from speeding every were on weekends but it could help. also the fact that who ever has the biggest car has right of way thing worring some times

    • mahmood says:

      If what you say about the commissions is true, then this is a major problem which must be addressed. I’ve never heard it before. I know that it is said that Customs officers get rewarded to catching contraband items, which is another thing I’m against as it should be there job to do so without having to have a “commission” for every time a discovery is made. I can fully understand a motivating thing like a bonus or appreciation certificate at the end of the year, but every time turns them into salesmen rather than security officials.

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