Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Vehicle Fatality Rates in Qatar
So there was a recent article in Doha News about the police trying to clamp down on traffic offenders. Looking at some of the comments and having discussions with people here a lot of people dislike the traffic in Doha and find the driving hazardous, too many people ignoring the rules and doing reckless things. That the death toll last April was 29 fatalities also sparked conversation about safety on Qatar’s roads.
I last looked at the statistics for road safety back in 2011 and found that while it had improved it was still behind Western countries. So how about now?
The Government now publishes monthly statistics on road accidents so I took a look at January through April 2014. So here's a bit of math:
Current number of fatalities for 2014: 69 (29+13+13+14)
Extrapolate to the entire year: 69 x 3 = 207 (which would be less than the number of fatalities in 2010 at 226)
If the average population is 2.1 million the fatalities per 100,000 people is 207/21 = 9.86
How does that compare? Well, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) in the United States compiled the fatality rate per 100,000 vehicles for all the states. Would you be surprised to learn that a rate of 9.86 is below average for the United States!? Yep, the average rate in the United States is 10.7, with a range from 5.3 for Massachusetts up to 24.3 for North Dakota. Surprising, right?
So I think Qatar may have more accidents overall but most of the accidents are not serious so the number of fatalities is comparable to the United States.
I’m not sure why this is. Speed may play a role, the higher fatality rates in the US tended to be in a more rural areas in Mid-West and South, possibly with more “wide-open” roads so people can speed easier, whereas in Doha the traffic congestion can prevent a lot of speeding and thus fatal accidents. That said the US statistics also include motorcycle deaths (~14% of fatalities) whereas the rate would be a lot lower in Qatar, so the fatality rate for cars would be higher.