Egyptian president vows to crack down on traffic violations

12,000 road deaths every year, special court to be set up

06 November, 18:49

    Car crash in Egypt [ARCHIVE MATERIAL] Car crash in Egypt [ARCHIVE MATERIAL]

    (ANSAmed) - CAIRO - A deadly mix of minivans that fail to abide by speed limit and go the wrong way down streets, buses a few decades old, arrogant drivers, potholes, obstacles, a lack of traffic lights and truckers' widespread use of drugs results in some 12,000 road deaths per year in Egypt, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

    Tens of thousands are also injured. After the latest serious accident - in which at least 18 schoolchildren were killed on Wednesday when their school bus ran head-on into a tanker in Beheria (northern Egypt) - President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi called for a commission to assess the situation and draw up possible measures. Al-Sisi, known for his hardline approach to terrorism, has decided to set up special courts for highway code violations and to stiffen punishments for those not abiding by even the least serious of traffic rules. Al Ahram reports that driving in the wrong direction and breaching traffic law could be punished with a six-month imprisonment, that could go up to at least three years in the event the violation leads to injury or death. Another proposed amendment allows jail terms for speeding, and amendments put a penalty of a minimum of one-year imprisonment for driving under the influence of drugs, which goes up to at least two years if the driver injures one or more persons.

    Last month, the prefect's office in the northwestern town of Marsa Matrouh initiated an anti-drug campaign, subjecting car drivers and truckers to testing. On one day, 12 out of 12 tested positive for the use of illegal substances. This marks the second time in less than six months that the traffic law has been amended. Another recent amendment by presidential decree gives a deadline of August 2014 for the removal of additional trailer attachments - a common cause for road accidents - to tractor trailers, reports Al Ahram.

    Egypt has 24,000 kilometers of major roads connecting its major cities and 62,000 kilometers if city streets are included in the total. Road works are currently underway on 12,000 kilometers. (ANSAmed).

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