Idlib: Factors Causing Traffic Chaos
Several reasons lie behind the traffic chaos in the city of Idlib, Northern Syria, which led to many accidents and deaths among civilians last year, while the city’s traffic police are undertaking certain measures as to limit these incidents.
Last year, there were 72 car accidents, the Traffic Police’s statistics show, 26 of which caused material damage only and other 38 accidents caused physical injuries, while eight people died in the last six months of 2018, according to Najib al-Abdullah, an official of the Traffic Police in Idlib, under the “Salvation Government”.
Al-Abdullah told Enab Baladi that the statistics offered by the police are not final, because the department is not informed of all the accidents since the current emergency number is of six charters, while they are trying to reuse the 115 number, known to everyone as that for traffic emergencies.
He pointed out that accidents inside the city usually cause light damage; however, most of the big accidents take place on the international highway and the roundabout.
Poor Roads Effect Disorder
Al-Abdullah attributed the chaos and the repeated traffic accidents to several reasons, on top of which is the drivers’ lack of commitment to traffic regulations, parking their cars in unauthorized areas, in addition to the spread of stalls on pavements in different areas, especially at the clock tower roundabout, which all force the citizens to walk between passing cars, not to mention the absence of accountability of the citizens who park their vehicles in the middle of the road to purchase their needs.
Abu Mustafa, a citizen from Maarrat al-Nu’man, attributed the traffic chaos to the unorganized state of traffic and the massive population, the large number of cars and absent censorship of any governmental authority, in addition to extreme speed and driving opposite the to the traffic’s direction, as well as disrespecting the traffic regulations.
The poor roads also play a major role in traffic accidents and chaos, according to driver Mohammad Abu Ali, from Ariha, who told Enab Baladi that drivers are having too many difficulties and obstacles, most importantly the potholes and bumps, especially the invisible ones, for the roads network was affected by many shells in the Assad’s forces bombardment of the area, most of which were not maintained.
Citizens have mentioned two other reasons contributing to accidents and traffic chaos. The first is that youngsters are riding cars, for Mohammad, a driver, said that 14-year-old children are driving cars without experience and without adhering to the regulations, pointing out that most of them are young militants, who violate speed limits and drive opposite to the traffic’s direction without censorship or deterrence.
The second reason is the spread of motorcycles, which the police cannot prevent, as most of the citizens have a limited income and cannot afford to buy a boarding car or transportation means, according to al-Abdullah.
The traffic chaos has triggered several questions about the solutions that can be applied. Al-Abdullah, concerning this, said that the first solution can be increasing the number of traffic police throughout Northern Syria, for today police’s presence is limited to the city of Idlib, while there are efforts to launch branches in the two cities of al-Dana and Ariha, in addition to seeking to enhance the traffic police’s role in the city of Kafr Nabl, in cooperation with the city’s local council.
One of the solutions is registering the vehicles and developing the police department, under which only 60 members are functioning today.
The statistics department at the Traffic Police has been activated last month, in addition to the licensing of car offices as to be reported on sale/purchase operations and the issuance of driving licenses, according to al-Abdullah, who said that this plan is to be applied after issuing identity cards for the citizens, after which they will be granted licenses for public and personally owned vehicles.
The vehicles’ registration cost varies depending on the type, for 15 thousand Syrian pounds are paid in case the car is already registered at the regime’s departments, knowing that it is the least cost possible, as for van cars, the cost has gone down from 34 to 20 Syrian pounds.