March 28, 2008

The new traffic law

A Police officer standing at one of Amman streets, Photo by Emad Salmeh

The "experts" say, as mentioned in the attached published article in Jordan Times, the cause of road killing goes to the following factors: 1) The Road. 2) The Vehicle. 3) The Driver. and awareness or change in mentality.
Maybe a good implementation of tough laws will enforce people to obay the orders, a dectatorial solution, isn't it? Enforcing a tougher Traffic law is not mentioned in the above mentioned causes of accidents and the experts listed some causes of the problem, but I belive they missed some.
Driving in Jordan is a reflection of a social-economical status of the citizens. What you see in the number of road killing, accidents, and even the fights and aggressive attitudes of the drivers in Jordan is not only caused by factors mentioned above, or the awareness of being a "good driver".

It's our education, ethics, and behaviors. How we drive is how we talk, how we work, how we treat each other, our moods, our patient, our attitudes, a reflection of the citizen, happiness and satisfaction or sadness, anger and greed. Not only have we had no proper roads to drive, or a depreciated cars caused by the holes in the streets, or an angry driver. We don't have a proper transportation alternative, and we don't even think of having one.

On the other hand, we need to focus on finding alternatives for transportation, if we focus on cars and traffic we will get more cars and traffic, if we focus on the people and places we will get more people and places.

A poster shows the amount of space taken up by cars, a bus, and bicycles used to transport the same number of people.

We will not solve the accidents and traffic problems by accommodating the use of vehicles. We fix some streets, we build parking garages, we dig some tunnels, then we enforce tougher traffic laws or we make some guerilla campaigns for implementing selective seasonal violations or we say lets give some awareness!

Our main target shall be to develop this country to make it more livable. We need to understand and educate ourselves and know what do we want? and how are we going to make it?

Finally, to be the leaders in the region development, we have to have the competency of change.

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The new Traffic law
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AMMAN - (JT) Experts and citizens said a new traffic law sent by the government to Parliament on Sunday was not enough to curb accidents, noting that a “change in mentality” was a more pressing need.

As deputies went into lengthy discussions on the legality of having a new law as an older temporary one was stuck at the Senate, citizens and experts told The Jordan Times that a crusade should be launched to change the mentality of motorists, pedestrians, educators and families.

Dean of Husn University College Saad Abu Qudais, who described road accidents as an “undeclared war on the innocent”, noted that the amendments to the law focus on drivers as the major factor in traffic accidents.

“There are other factors the proposed draft law does not address such as conditions of roads and vehicles as well as loopholes in road designs.”

The academician, who is an expert in transportation-related environmental problems, said: “It is not an issue of intensifying penalties and proposing harsher regulations.”

The draft law replaces a temporary traffic law introduced by the previous government in November that was rejected by the Lower House because it was seen as too harsh and aimed at collecting money through bigger fines, rather than addressing the problem itself.

The new law reduced fines and long prison terms, but remains stiffer than the previous versions of the traffic law.

As an example, the penalty for running a red light in the new law ranges from JD100 to JD200 in addition to a detention period of one week to a month, compared to a minimum JD250 fine proposed by the previous version that was rejected by the House.

Mohammad Dabbas, president of the Society for the Prevention of Road Accidents, agreed with Abu Qudais on the need for awareness rather than harsh penalties.

“We should first concentrate on how to make the public respect and abide by traffic regulations before we think of suggesting stiffer penalties," Dabbas said yesterday.

Like Abu Qudais, he also believes that all factors must be taken into consideration when tackling the alarming issue.

He said the Kingdom’s roads are overwhelmed by the increase in population and the rise in the number of vehicles.

Contrary to the view of the two experts, 65-year-old Souf resident Yusra Odeibat, who lost her son Mahmoud in a road accident last year, called for harsher penalties for violators.

Odeibat, who blames the death of her 24-year-old son on a “reckless driver”, said such people should be punished severely and traffic police “should be on every street to stop these people from killing others”.

But some drivers are not yet ready for a change of mentality.

“I cannot drive slowly,” said Salem Nassar, a minibus driver on the Amman-Zarqa route.

“If I do, other buses will make more money than I do, and this will get me into trouble with the bus owner,” he told The Jordan Times on Sunday.

He added that he has no choice but to pick up as many extra passengers as possible in his daily “race” against drivers of public transport vehicles.

Nassar claimed that corruption is involved in the law enforcement issue.

“Even if authorities intensify penalties, it will not do any good. These people [bus owners] have influential people supporting them and they rarely pay fines,” he charged.

But if this way of thinking prevails, said Dabbas, one in every three families will lose a member as a result of a road accident by 2020.

Over 111,000 traffic accidents occurred in 2007 claiming the lives of 979 people. The figure exceeds that of 2006 by 80, Abu Qudais said, citing statistics compiled by the Traffic Institute.

“This means that every 9.44 hours a citizen dies as a result of an accident,” the expert said, pointing out that during the past 10 years more than 7,000 people died and 175,000 injured because of road accidents.

According to a statistical analysis worked out by Abu Qudais, 37 per cent of traffic accident victims are pedestrians, 27 per cent drivers and 19 per cent front seaters. Passengers sitting in back seats constitute 8 per cent of total injuries and deaths.

The analysis also indicated that human error is blamed for 90 per cent of accidents with 10 per cent caused by other factors such as road and vehicle conditions and bad weather.
Violation Current fine/penalty Suggested fine/penalty

Driving under the JD500 and 3-6 months JD250 and one-month
influence of jail term imprisonment
drugs or alcohol
Improper use of lane JD100 and one- to JD50
four-week jail term
Smoking offence JD15 JD10
Failure to use JD150 and imprisonment JD50-JD100
tachometer between one week and a month
Failure to use taxi JD50 JD30
fare meter
Not using seatbelt JD25 JD15

1 comment:

Raya Watan said...

The traffic law draft of yesterday the 23rd of June is amazing, it ruins what has been built.. or what is on the process of establishing