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What is Vision Zero? Should this road safety approach be implemented in Saudi Arabia?

Though the economic growth of any country is linked with their mobility and transportation despite this, fatalities and life-threatening injuries are also the inevitable side effects of our modern infrastructure. According to statistics, road fatality rate in the Kingdom is 17 persons per day causing financial loss of 85-90 billion riyals annually. Recently a new law has been passed against car drifting, as an effort to reduce roadside fatalities but alone this legalization is not enough.  A holistic initiative should be planned and implemented in Saudi Arabia.

One of the successful strategy implemented around the globe is “Vision Zero”. This road safety strategy was pioneered in 1997 by Sweden. According to this strategy, traffic deaths are preventable and everyone has the right to move safely on roads. After its successful implementation in Sweden, it was adopted in Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and the United Kingdom with the belief that the loss of any life is unacceptable.

The vision was first implemented in 1998 by Sweden. By 2007, the traffic-related fatality rate was reduced by 30% and life-threatening injuries were dropped by 50% in Sweden.

The vision consists of four basic elements; ethics, responsibility, a safety philosophy and the creation of mechanisms for change. According to this vision, drivers are not solely responsible for preventing an accident since they are humans and will inevitably make mistakes, but the infrastructure should be designed in a way where responsibility is shared between drivers, traffic engineers, and road designers.

Implementation of vision zero can begin by listing down the problems that need to be addressed. This will develop long-term goals and envision of how to achieve this goal for a safe transportation system. Since the main concept of this vision can be implemented in any country according to their approach, respective authorities of Saudi Arabia should also consider this approach along with other legalizations for a safer transportation system.

 

Courtesy: King Salman Centre for local administration

 

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