While 132 people died during the nine-day Ramadan Bayram earlier this month, statistics show that traffic casualties are far from falling. The state-run Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) announced yesterday that 7,530 people were killed and 304,421 others injured in 183,011 accidents in 2015, with the overall number of accidents reported as 1.1 million.
Figures show the majority of accidents took place in rural areas, and 3,831 people died at the scene accident while the rest died from their injuries in hospitals. More than 3,000 people die in traffic accidents each year, but for the first time TurkStat included in their figures those who died later.Accidents remain a major concern for Turkey despite improvements in road conditions, with more lanes added to existing roads in a bid to prevent accidents stemming from overtaking of vehicles.
TurkStat figures indicate that the majority of accidents were due to driver error, and only 0.9 percent stemmed from road conditions. Only 40.7 percent of casualties were drivers.
Figures also revealed the peak periods for accidents, with most accidents involving death and injuries occurring in July, whereas February saw the least frequency of accidents. TurkStat analyzed the frequency of fatal accidents by days of the week, with Saturdays seeing the highest number of deadly accidents, while Tuesdays saw the least. More than half of the accidents took place at day time.
The government recently announced a new action plan to avoid further traffic casualties during the upcoming Qurban Bayram from Sept. 1 to Sept. 9. There will be public service announcements for citizens traveling on the roads and public service advertisements will be prepared concerning traffic accidents, distributed via posters, flyers and internet ads. Students will also be lectured about traffic safety, as well as protection of life and property, over the upcoming school year. More police will be deployed on busy roads for traffic inspections. Drivers that are considered to be tired will be advised to rest outside their vehicles while their vehicles and related papers are inspected. Roads with the highest number of accidents will be identified and will be taken into consideration during inspections, with the first 10 roads on the list being heavily inspected and one patrol every 10 kilometers.