On 15 September 2011, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights organized a workshop titled “Traffic Accidents: Between Reality and Traffic Law.
”The workshop was held because traffic accidents have become a major source of concern as the number of deaths is increasing significantly.
Mervat An-Nahal, Al Mezan’s lawyer, opened the workshop by welcoming the participants.
She presented information on the serious consequences of the increase in traffic accidents and the remarkable rise in the number of victims due to unlawful use of motorcycles and disrespect for rules and laws concerning the speed limit and automobile standards.
In addition, Gaza faces a deteriorated road infrastructure and a lack of respect for traffic rules by pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists.
An-Nahal asserted the importance of adhering to the traffic rules set out in Law No.
5 of 2000 and its Implementing Regulation No.
393 of 2005, in order to control traffic and to clarify the procedures to be followed and the punishments for breaking the rules.
Osama Al Bal’awi, the director of the Systems and Information Center at the Ministry of Health, thanked Al Mezan, the organizers of the workshop, and the participants.
He explained the impact traffic accidents have on all levels of society, not just on the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Interior, and the immediate victims.
He then reviewed the state of readiness of the emergency department in the Ministry of Health, and pointed out that road accidents in the Gaza Strip cause on average 40injuries and three deaths every week.
He also pointed out the social and economic consequences of traffic accidents.
Hassan Juwda Okasha, Director of General Administration of Traffic Engineering and Safety in the Ministry of Transport, pointed out that road accidents area painful reality for all members of the community.
Regarding transportation, he noted that a vehicle must be examined by Gaza’s automobile examination center before it is licensed as safe to drive, and motorcycles should be examined and fitted with a special device limiting their speed before being licensed.
He added that animal-drawn carts cause many accidents and should be equipped with luminous plates.
Also, the ministry is working to install cat’s-eye retro-reflectors on Salah Ad-Din Street in order to demarcate the road, including its lanes and its boundaries.
Lieutenant Mustafa Ash-Shaer, the Deputy Inspector for Investigating Traffic Accidents, defined a traffic accident as an incident occurring accidentally, without prior intent, between a vehicle and another vehicle or between a person and a vehicle.
The main cause of road accidents is the human factor: the person who is driving the vehicle.
Ash-Shaer reviewed the statistics showing the number of deaths and injuries in 2011.
75 persons have died so far this year; 36 of them were in motorcycle-related accidents.
He recommended banning the import of motorcycles and removing unsound cars from the roads.
The workshop presented a series of recommendations, as follows: 1.
Improve controls for the introduction of motorcycles into traffic.
Work on improving roads and equipping them with sufficient traffic lights in order to put an end to traffic accidents.
Implement surprise license checks by traffic police.
Distribute awareness materials on road safety in Gaza’s districts, targeting large and varied categories of people.
Implement an awareness program in schools to educate students about traffic signs and traffic rules.