Over 25,000 deaths, injuries resulting from road accidents in 2015: CAPMAS
Courtesy: Laura Cugusi

Road accidents in Egypt have resulted in the death and injury of 25,500 people in 2015, according to a report issued Monday by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).

This figure is a 16 percent drop from 2014’s reported deaths and injuries, the agency points out, while the total number of accidents in 2015 reached 14,500, a 1 percent increase over the previous year.

According to CAMPAS figures, road accidents in 2015 caused 6,203 fatalities, 15,847 severe injuries and 3,479 light injuries.

The report detailed that 32 percent of those injured lost their lives in 2015, compared to 25.8 percent in 2014 and 24.8 percent in 2005. Of the total number of accidents, 42.6 percent resulted in fatalities in 2015, compared to 43.3 percent in 2014.

Private cars caused 36.8 percent of accidents, the report found, followed by trucks at 27.8 percent and taxis at 18.9 percent.

The study placed most of the responsibility for road accidents on drivers, contending that the “human element” caused 64 percent of accidents in 2015, followed by vehicle conditions which were found to have caused 21.9 percent of accidents. The state of road infrastructure putatively caused 2.4 percent of accidents.

Ahmed Shelbaya, the head of the NADA Foundation for Safer Egyptian Roads, told Mada Masr that blaming the bulk of accidents on human error is misleading.

“Since there’s a person driving and a person crossing the road, naturally the human element is the base, but the surrounding environment and the system have a considerable effect on that human element,” Shelbaya explained.

As an example, Shelbaya cited the frequent accidents involving workers at Cairo Festival City Mall in New Cairo who must cross Cairo’s dangerous ring road on their way to work every day. While these accidents are included in the human error data set, Shelbaya notes that the principal cause stems from the lack of a crossing bridge.

Expanding CAPMAS’s analysis of the data, the foundation’s head argued that there are several other factors that contribute to the high rate of vehicle-related fatalities, including flawed licensing procedures, the absence of proper sidewalks to protect pedestrians from speeding drivers, lax regulations that allow vehicles that do not meet international safety standards onto the road, and labor laws that do not provide truck drivers with a minimum wage thereby incentivizing them to work long hours.

The World Bank advised Egypt in 2014 to place a high priority on road maintenance. The World Bank’s country director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti cited figures demonstrating the need: “the required funding for road maintenance in Egypt is estimated around $700 million per year, yet only $70 million is available,” he wrote. “In other words, every km of Egyptian road network will only be maintained every 33 years.”

CAPMAS estimated that road accidents cost LE30.2 billion in 2015 in lost output, in addition to LE1.8 billion paid by insurance companies.

The statistics agency also estimated that in 2020 road accidents will cost LE31 billion in lost output, with a projected 6,211 fatalities and 22,255 injuries due to accidents.

According to a 2015 global report on road safety released by the World Health Organization (WHO), reported road traffic fatalities in 2013 reached 8,701, but the WHO estimated the figure to be around 10,466.

The CAPMAS report comes amid a social media campaign that was launched this week by Rabab al-Meligy who lost her daughter Danya in an accident on Cairo’s ring road and is now seeking to change Egypt’s traffic laws.

The reform campaign features three main hashtags that have trended on Facebook and Twitter, which have called for banning trucks during rush hours, compulsory checkups for truck drivers and regulation of the times during which trucks are allowed on the roads.

Meligy is pursuing legal action and is calling on the State Council to issue laws to regulate traffic, in a bid to curb road accidents.