(MENAFN - Arab News) Eastern Province Gov. Prince Muhammad bin Fahd has approved the institution of an award for best driver in the region as part of the traffic department's efforts to promote safe driving and cut down traffic accidents.
Deputy Gov. Prince Jelawi bin Abdul Aziz bin Musaed, chairman of the traffic safety committee, has agreed to preside over the award's selection committee.
The award will be organized with the support of Prince Muhammad bin Fahd Private University, the Traffic Department and the Saudi Society for Traffic Safety. The award was recommended by the last GCC Traffic Week.
According to an official statement issued on the occasion, the award was aimed at encouraging the public to drive safely, following traffic regulations, and protect the public from the aftermaths of growing road accidents.
Gov. Prince Muhammad has called upon all groups of people in the society to work together for confronting the problem of traffic accidents that cause the death of hundreds of people and the loss of billions of riyals every year.
According to Abdulaziz bin Mohammed Sweilem, KACST vice president, economic losses from the growing number of road accidents in the Kingdom are expected to reach between SR 316.6 billion to 650.3 billion in eight years.
"Between 1391H and 1432H, more than 8.18 million road accidents took place in the Kingdom, causing the death of 149,802 people and injuring more than a million," he said.
In light of statistics from previous years, more than 1 million traffic accidents are expected to take place this year. "If the present traffic system is continued, there will be 1,051,232 road accidents with 8,566 deaths during the current Hijrah year," he said.
About 73 percent of the casualties were people below 40, while 30 percent of hospital beds were occupied by road accident victims, Sweilem said, stressing the importance of a national strategy for traffic safety.