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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Speed cameras bring down Qatar road toll

Speed cameras have contributed to a substantial decrease in fatal motor vehicle injuries in Qatar, according to the results of the first study of its kind in Qatar.

The exercise was conducted by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q). Most speed cameras were installed during 2007, giving researchers the opportunity to examine injury rates before and after the use of photo enforcement cameras being widely used.

Examining data over a 10 year period, from 2000 to 2010, researchers found a dramatic decrease in the number of fatal road traffic accidents after 2007.

During the study period, the number of speed cameras on the roads increased from 14 to 84, a six-fold rise, with the majority being placed in 2007.

Results of the data collected after 2007 showed fatal car accident rates had dropped to 15 per 100,000.
Traffic death rates in Qatar reached an all-time high in 2006 with a level of 26 per 100,000, compared to death rates in Western Europe and North America that range from 5 to 10 per 100,000.

Until 2007, nearly two-thirds of all trauma-related deaths in Qatar were caused by car accidents with three quarters of the victims being under the age of 50.

The findings of the study have been published in the  British medical journal, Injury Prevention.
The study was carried out in conjunction with the Supreme Council of Health which provided yearly data that forms the basis of comprehensive health reports and the traffic department of the Ministry of Interior provided additional information.

The authors of the study are Dr Ravinder Mamtani (associate dean for Global and Public Health, WCMC-Q) and Dr Javaid Sheikh (dean, WCMC-Q), Dr Mohamed al-Thani (director, Public Health Department, Supreme Council of Health) and Dr Al-Anoud bint Mohamed al-Thani (director, Health Promotion and Non-communicable diseases, Department of Public Health) and Dr Albert Lowenfels (Department of
Surgery, New York Medical College).

Dr Sheikh said this collaborative research was important  because it brought to light the role that law enforcement interventions had played in reducing premature mortality from motor vehicle injuries in Qatar.

Dr Mohamed al-Thani observed that this research was proof of how effective policy and strong implementation could save lives.

The study found that non-fatal severe injury rates also declined, but mild injury rates increased, possibly due to increased traffic congestion and improved notification.

The authors noted it was possible that speed cameras decreased speeding enough to affect the death rate, without affecting overall injury rates.

Dr Mamtani stressed more measures were needed to continue to enhance road safety because there was room for improvement.

In Qatar road traffic injuries have been considered an epidemic and more than 25% of drivers have been involved in a road traffic crash.

Dr Mamtani observed that in the Middle East data showed premature mortality among the young on roads was high.

(Source: Gulf Times)

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