Traffic accidents and other road incidents happen with increased frequency before and after Muslim holidays in Turkey, when millions hit the roads to visit friends or family. The Turkish Interior Ministry has decided to join forces with Yandex, a leading navigational app the Ministry now plans to use as a way to warn drivers of road conditions. Authorities have also launched a new campaign to raise awareness to prevent traffic accidents that claim thousands of lives every year in the country.
To mark the occasion of Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice), the Muslim festival also known as Qurban Bayram, a large number of holidaymakers travel en masse to vacation resorts or to their hometowns from big cities like Istanbul. Therefore, reckless driving is the biggest threat facing drivers and passengers over the holiday, as road incidents and accidents usually peak during the mass exodus from cities across Turkey's western, southern and central regions.
The Interior Ministry announced that they would deliver warning messages to drivers via the Yandex app for 1,800 spots across the country, all of which have a high rate of accidents. When the driver enters a route with a high accident rate, a warning message will flash on the screen of navigational app. It will also be accompanied by the slogan of the new campaign for traffic awareness: "Trust the rules, not the brakes." The Interior Ministry will also send text messages to drivers, providing useful information about rest spots so people can rest while on lengthy road trips. The authorities also implemented the series of measures to prevent accidents during Eid al-Fitr last June, cutting the number of traffic accidents by half.
Minister Süleyman Soylu said more than 52,000 police and gendarmerie troops will be deployed across Turkey to monitor traffic violations throughout the four-day holiday. "This is the highest number of personnel we have deployed during a holiday," Soylu noted.
Still, as of Aug. 31, the death toll in traffic accidents of the last five days has reached 45. The head of the National Police Directorate Selami Altınok pointed out that this number is low compared to the high rate of fatalities in recent years. Traffic accidents across the country fell by 9.9 percent in 2016 compared to the previous year and 7,300 people died in traffic accidents in 2016.