Traffic accident numbers drop in Turkey despite holiday exodus

Thousands of people hit the road this weekend across Turkey as the nine-day Qurban Bayram, also known as Eid al-Adha, came to an end. The Home Office said despite the heavy traffic, the number of accidents, a staple of the start and end of holidays, has fallen.

Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on his social media account on Sunday that the traffic accident rate had fallen by 29% compared to other long holidays in the past decade, while the fatal accident rate had fallen by 55. %.

The minister noted that some 801,000 vehicles crossed the Bolu mountain pass, the busiest road during the holidays connecting major western cities to the heart of Anatolia, while some 760,000 vehicles took the same route for the return to the western cities in recent days. He urged motorists to obey road safety rules.

On Sunday, 30 people were injured when a bus overturned on the side of the road in the central province of Kayseri. The bus was carrying vacationers from the southern city of Mersin, who spent the vacation visiting the Black Sea region to the north. The wounded are treated in hospitals in Kayseri. Rıfkı Can, one of the passengers, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the bus first hit a traffic sign and the driver lost control of the vehicle as he tried to stop it. to deviate from the road. “He was most likely asleep at the wheel,” he said.

Since the start of the holiday last week, 31 people have been killed and scores more injured in crashes across the country in the first five days of the holiday.

Thousands of people visit relatives or go to vacation spots during this year’s nine-day bayram holiday. Despite the measures, many traffic accidents occur due to speeding, reckless driving and congestion on the roads. To deter drivers from violating traffic safety laws, the Interior Ministry has issued guidelines to governorates in 81 provinces, mainly to increase the presence of traffic police units across the country.

Throughout the holiday, more than 210,000 members of the security forces were on duty to monitor compliance with regulations, including the use of seat belts.

According to official figures, more than 1.1 million accidents occurred throughout Turkey in 2021, which is higher than the figures for 2019 and 2020 but lower than 2018. Nevertheless, only 187,963 accidents resulted in fatalities or injuried people. More than 3,500 people die on the roads every day, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which has declared 2021-2030 a Decade of Action for Road Safety, with the goal of preventing at least 50% of deaths and injuries on the roads. by 2030. The WHO has said nearly 1.3 million deaths are preventable in road traffic crashes every year, describing crashes as a leading cause of death worldwide.

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