Queen highlights tragic consequences of reckless driving, urges motorists to drive responsibly

Queen Rania's interview with Radio Fann show “Bisaraha Maa Al Wakil”

January 09, 2008

(Jordan Times, Rana Husseini - Amman) Her Majesty Queen Rania on Wednesday urged motorists to drive with the utmost responsibility and to keep in mind the tragic consequences of reckless driving. 
The Queen made the remarks during a morning call to the popular Radio Fann show “Bisaraha Maa Al Wakil” or “Frankly with Wakil,” hosted by Mohammad Wakil. 
“Every now and then we hear of a tragic accident that claims the life of a youth or a child on our roads. These are heartbreaking and devastating incidents that destroy and change the lives of entire families in Jordan,” the Queen said.
By mid-December, a total of 94,257 traffic accidents had been reported in 2007, which killed 789 people and injured 12,989 others, and cost the Kingdom around JD255 million, according to official figures. 
“I read recent traffic statistics and they are really scary. Everyday we lose at least two of our dear citizens and at least five children are killed every week,” Queen Rania told Wakil.
“We need to seriously analyse these statistics and know that behind these numbers there are lives wasted and sad stories of mothers losing their children, families losing their main supporters and children losing their mothers’ love and compassion,” she added.
When asked by Wakil about the wrongful behaviour of motorists, including the use of mobile phones while driving, the Queen said it was one of the reasons behind road accidents.
Traffic laws need to be changed, she said, “but what is more important is for everyone to become more responsible and work on changing wrongful driving habits such as speeding, using mobile phones or driving under the influence of alcohol.”
“This is the responsibility of all and we have to think of our surroundings... and we hope that through your programme and other awareness programmes citizens will become more responsible towards each other”, Queen Rania said. 
In April 2005, the Queen launched a national traffic awareness campaign, carrying the message: “Imagine life without you”, which was designed to curb the number of casualties and road accidents in the Kingdom.
During the ceremony, where bereaved family members shared their anguish with the audience, Queen Rania listened to the public and private sectors’ comments on ways to curb traffic accidents in Jordan and enhance road safety.
Almost a year later, the Queen joined a group of schoolchildren attending a performance of “Stop”, part of an educational campaign designed to raise traffic awareness among schoolchildren.
In May 2007, His Majesty King Abdullah instructed the government to draw up a comprehensive strategy to curb road accidents. 
Chairing a meeting of the Higher Council for Traffic Safety, the Monarch said the strategy should be implemented in line with a timetable and a clear programme that specifies duties of related institutions and authorities.
In a bid to tackle this problem, the government introduced a strict temporary traffic law in November that imposed stiffer penalties and longer prison terms for traffic violations.
When Parliament convened in December, however, the traffic law was rejected by the Lower House and later by the Upper House Legal Committee, because it would impose harsh penalties on motorists that could result in “social imbalances”.
The Senate Legal Committee suggested early this year that the government draft a new traffic law instead, one that would take into consideration the economic situation of citizens.