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Road Traffic Accidents in Kuwait: Triangulation Method Study

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There was an increasing trend from 2010 to 2011 motor traffic
accidents in Kuwait City, passengers and pedestrians are
always at highest risk of being injured or killed on the road.
Quantitative and qualitative results indicated that the technical
element of the highway construction, irresponsibility, poor
management, cell phones, alcohol and drugs, age of the
victims and poor condition of services were the causes of
traffic accidents in Kuwait. The study recommended that the
government should review legislation regarding employment
of drivers, and working conditions of police force should be
improved, public road safety campaigns should be conducted,
and new driving license system should be imposed. The use of
cell phones while driving should be restricted. The hospital
and police records should be updated with the number of road
victims, the hospital staff, traffic police and ambulance
personnel should be considered for intensive training on
emergency and preparedness, and regular vehicle inspection
should be introduced in Kuwait City.
Keyword: Traffic- accidents-Risk Theory-System Theory, Triangulation-method

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Road Traffic Accidents in Kuwait: Triangulation Method Study

  1. 1. Triple A Research Journal of Social Science and Humanity (JSSH) | Vol.2 No.3 | October 2018 Triple A Research Journal of Social Science and Humanity (ISSN: 2636-5472) Vol.2(3): 079 - 088, October 2018 Available online: http://www.triplearesjournal.org/jssh Copyright ©2018 Triple A Research Journal Review Road Traffic Accidents in Kuwait: Triangulation Method Study Prof. Dr. Amer Alsaleh Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Kuwait University, Kuwait City, State of Kuwait. Zip Code: 71962 Author: Prof. Dr. Amer Alsaleh Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Kuwait University, Kuwait City, State of Kuwait. Zip Code: 71962 Email address: amer3_@hotmail.com ABSTRACT There was an increasing trend from 2010 to 2011 motor traffic accidents in Kuwait City, passengers and pedestrians are always at highest risk of being injured or killed on the road. Quantitative and qualitative results indicated that the technical element of the highway construction, irresponsibility, poor management, cell phones, alcohol and drugs, age of the victims and poor condition of services were the causes of traffic accidents in Kuwait. The study recommended that the government should review legislation regarding employment of drivers, and working conditions of police force should be improved, public road safety campaigns should be conducted, and new driving license system should be imposed. The use of cell phones while driving should be restricted. The hospital and police records should be updated with the number of road victims, the hospital staff, traffic police and ambulance personnel should be considered for intensive training on emergency and preparedness, and regular vehicle inspection should be introduced in Kuwait City. Keyword: Traffic- accidents-Risk Theory-System Theory- Triangulation- method INTRODUCTION The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 1.17million deaths occur each year worldwide due to road traffic accidents (World Health Organization,2001). Road traffic accidents (RTAs) are increasingly being recognized as a growing public social problem in Arabian Gulf countries. The discovery of oil around the middle of the last century has led to changes in many aspects of life in State of Kuwait. There was an explosion in immigration and population, with a corresponding increase in vehicle numbers accompanied by rapidly expanding road construction programmers. The recent economic boom witnessed due to a myriad of reasons such as a perceived stability in the region after removal of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and increase in oil revenues due to increase in prices has led to a significant increase in the expatriate population and resulting traffic and congestion issues on Kuwait Road Network. Traffic accidents are a common occurrence in Kuwait. For a population of almost 2.5 million, there were in excess of 45,878 traffic accidents in 2004. Hotspots include the Fahaheel Expressway (Road 30) and the Alhmadi Expressway (Road 40) south of the 4th Ring Road, and the 4th, 5th and 6th Ring Roads (Statistical Annual Report, 2012). Interior Ministry official who provided statistics obtained from the Information and Statistics Division at the Traffic General Department, revealed that 86 percent of road fatalities were males as against 14 percent of female victims. Four hundred people were killed while 8,000 were injured in traffic accidents reported in 2012, local daily
  2. 2. Triple A Research Journal of Social Science and Humanity (JSSH) | Vol.2 No.3 | October 2018 Amer 080 Table 1. Traffic violations reported. According to the Ministry of Interior Statistics Annual Report (2012), around 67,000 accidents were reported around the country, the majority of which were reported from the Capital Governorate with 20,762, followed by Mubarak Al- Kabeer with 5,169. The statistics also show an average 20 percent increase in the number of road accidents recorded in each governorate. Road Traffic Accidents in Kuwait Kuwait has one of the highest accident fatality rates in the world. Kuwait has implemented new, more stringent traffic laws in November of 2001 to minimize traffic violations and thereby reduce traffic accidents. To complement the laws, over 70 cameras were installed to record speed and red- light running violations. Despite the improved enforcement efforts, the traffic safety situation has not improved. In the year 2006, there were over 2.75 million traffic violations reported in Kuwait. Included in this, are over 313,000 Red- light running and 840,000 over-speeding violations recorded by cameras (Statistical Annual Report, 2012). The number of these kinds of serious violations has increased over the years. According to recent studies by the Traffic Department, there are 75,194 accidents taking place on Kuwaiti roads annually, which is 206 accidents per day on average, or 8.5 per hour. Fatalities have climbed to 493 per year, averaging 1.3 per day. This is a further increase since a WHO data published in April 2011 on Road Traffic Accident Deaths in Kuwait, which put the figure at 402 annually, which was 9.2 percent of the total mortality rate. The data also noted that the age adjusted death rate is 16.4 per 100,000 of population. Among the top 20 causes for deaths in Kuwait, traffic accidents rank at No. 8, following coronary heart disease, stroke, influenza and pneumonia, diabetes mellitus, breast cancer, hyper tension and kidney disease. In another study by Traffic National Strategy 2009-2019, traffic congestions and accidents will cost Kuwait KD 27.430 billion in the next ten years, and the money to be spent by Kuwait to deal with accidents will represent around 6 per cent of its annual GDP. The traffic strategy was launched by the Interior Ministry in partnership with the United Nations Development Program and Supreme Council for Planning and Development to create an effective transport system by reducing traffic congestion and the economic and environmental problems arising from it. International experts at a ‘Traffic’ conference held a few years ago in Kuwait had pointed out to this trend of growing road accidents in Kuwait and discussed their causes. Economic prosperity leading to increased demand for newer and faster cars, which in turn filled the roads, speeding, lack of full enforcement of law, disinclination to use public transport facilities, using mobile phones while driving and not adhering to basic safety standards like wearing seat belts were identified as important causes for road accidents. A survey of newspaper reports over the years on traffic accidents by Arab Times showed that despite measures by the authorities to contain the situation, the rate of accidents has been steadily climbing. According to reports in local dailies, the total number of accidents in 2010 was about 49,000, indicating an increase of more than 40 percent by 2012. The Ministry of Interior had established a strategic vision to tackle traffic problems based on 2010 statistics in Kuwait and other international studies, which showed texting and browsing Internet while driving are major causes of road accidents. The ministry said that using hands-free technology or Bluetooth, or even equipping the cars with sound systems are all alternatives to the use of mobiles while driving. Following these decisions, the ministry made laws against use of mobile phones while driving more stringent, backing it up with appropriate awareness campaigns. Traffic violations data for the years 2006 is presented in table 1. A total of 2.76 million violations have occurred in this year for the six governorates. Many red light running, and over- speed violations were recorded as in previous years. Over 80,000 seat belt violations also raise cause of safety concern in Kuwait (Statistical Annual Report, 2012). The rising trend in the number of different types of traffic violations has become an important issue for policy planners in Kuwait in the Ministry of Interior and the other concerned departments of Government of Kuwait. A higher traffic
  3. 3. Triple A Research Journal of Social Science and Humanity (JSSH) | Vol.2 No.3 | October 2018 081 Triple A Res. J. Soc. Sci. Human. council has been established to address these issues. The Ministry of Interior is trying to make its penalty regime very stringent. Over 25 million Kuwait Dinars were collected in fines and several drivers’ licenses were suspended and dozens were imprisoned for serious violations. Objectives of the study The general target of the examination is to explore and recognize hazard factors contributing to high hazard rates of Street Auto collisions in Kuwait City. More specifically, the study will be geared to attain the following objectives: 1. To describe the numbers of injuries and death causalities in the city in a period of 2010 to 2011. 2. To identify factors associated with highway traffic accidents in Kuwait City. 3. To assess different road safety measures taken by local authorities to prevent accidents in Kuwait City. Research questions 1. What are the numbers of casualties occurred at Kuwait City in a period of 2010 and 2011? (by reviewing the hospital information cards of accident victims admitted, Kuwait Hospital records). 2. Which factors are associated with the causes of traffic accidents in a high way road at Kuwait City? (By interviewing in/outpatient accident victims at Kuwait Hospitals, Government officials, traffic police at Kuwait City, responsible officials and officials from the Ministry of Health). 3. What kind of safety measures have been taken or implemented by local authorities to prevent road traffic accidents in Kuwait City? (by interviewing local authorities in Kuwait City). LITERATURE REVIEW Past investigations have demonstrated that setback and casualty rates in UAE and in different Gulf countries, are significantly higher than in the creating nations with tantamount vehicle possession levels (Bener, Abu-Zidan , Bensiali, Al-Mulla, Jadaan, 2003). The size of the issue along these lines manages the requirement for more research into street mishaps and related hazard factors. By and large, the conduct of the street client obviously constitutes a critical hazard factor. In any case, age, sex, conjugal status, instruction, preparing, background, lifestyle, enthusiastic status, weariness, response time, vision, watchfulness and driving rate, additionally assume huge parts and should be considered related hazard factors in street car crashes (Gregersen and Bjurulf, 1996). In the EU region, 30,700 people died in road traffic accidents in 2010 (European Commission, 2010a). The European Union’s former road safety action Program (2001–2010) aimed to halve the number of road deaths by 2010, and this ambitious target has been renewed in the new EU road safety plan for 2011–2020 (European Commission, 2010b). Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, speeding and non- use of seatbelts, are all major factors in fatal traffic accidents (Clarke et al., 2010). It is apparent that the use of alcohol and illicit or medicinal drugs that impair driving skills are very common among fatally injured drivers. According to several different studies approximately half (40–50%) of the drivers in fatal traffic accidents have been found to have some psychoactive substance present in their blood samples (Carmen Del Rio et al., 2002; Drummer et al., 2003; Jones et al., 2009). In case–control studies – whether the controls were fatally injured drug- and alcohol-free drivers (Drummer et al., 2004) or drivers recruited at random while driving on public roads (Movig et al., 2004) – it has been found that the use of alcohol and/or drugs increases the risk of a traffic accident. The risk was especially high among drivers who had used both alcohol and drugs, alcohol only or multiple medicinal/illegal drugs (Fence et al., 2011). In Finland, in 2009 overall 279 people died in traffic accidents (Statistics Finland, 2010). On a yearly basis during 2005–2009, circa 108 persons died in road traffic accidents involving intoxicants (97 persons in alcohol-related and 11 persons in other intoxicant related traffic accidents) (Statistics Finland, 2010). As in the EU road safety plan, so too in Finland the aim is to reduce the number of fatal traffic accidents. The long-term target is that there will be at most 100 deaths in Finnish road traffic in 2025 (Finnish Government, 2006). In one of the pioneering studies using a case crossover design, Redelmeier and Tibshirani (1997) found that drivers were four more times exposed to a traffic accident when they used their mobile phones while driving than when not using them and that hands-free phones were not safer than handheld ones. A similar study conducted by McEvoy et al. (2005) corroborated this earlier finding. Other studies have concluded that drivers self-regulate their use of the mobile phone in response to perceived driving demands. They make more calls in light than in heavy traffic and in the process reduce speed and keep further back from the vehicle in front. An epidemiological study reports that drivers who use the phone while driving are more likely to be in an accident than those who do not (Dragutinovic and Twisk 2005). Relative crash risk does not differ between male and female drivers or according to the type of phone. However, drivers perceive hands-free sets to be far less dangerous than handheld phones; in some studies, these devices are seen to pose no risk at all (Dragutinovic and Twisk 2005). Theoretical perspectives System theory The system theory is based on man-environment adjustments and maladjustments (Muhlrad et al 2005). This theory included the environment, the means of transport (vehicles) and the behavior of man (Krug et al., 2000). The means of transport component comprises of the volume and quality of vehicles on the modes of transport. The behavior
  4. 4. Triple A Research Journal of Social Science and Humanity (JSSH) | Vol.2 No.3 | October 2018 Amer 082 of man categories comprises of demographic characteristic of road users such as level of age, gender, education, socio- economic status, stage in life cycle), people’s perceptions of risk and people’s general behavior on the streets. Thus, systems theory is a system designed to ensure controls and regulations of traffic safety. Traffic management should be decisive to maintain road traffic safety (Haur, 1995:136; Button, 1993:80). Risk theory In the risk theory, we should have defined risk as subjective assessment of a negative event concerned individual with the consequences of this event (Sjorberg 1983, Rundmo 2004 and Moen 2005). Several variables are thought to influence risk perceptions among the public. Social relations and media are thought to shape how individuals and societies approach potential risks (Slovic 1987, OlterdalMoen Klempe and Rundmo, 2004). There are many several risks aspects have to be taken into consideration. The first is the probability of a negative event and the severity of consequences of such an event. In addition, processing theories and appraisal theories account for how affect influences such judgments. Many researchers concluded that the greater the consequences of the negative event, the more affect will be present when thinking about the risk source, and the more precautionary action to avoid an accident is expected (Rundmo and Iversen, 2004). According to Wilde (2002) and Adams (1995) individual’s risk-taking decisions represent a balancing act in which perceptions of risk are weighed against propensity to take risk. The propensity to take risk is influenced by expected rewards and as a perceived threats or danger increase, people respond by being more careful. There is therefore a balancing behavior influenced by potential danger and propensity to take the risk which in turn influences accidents and rewards. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY The methodology and procedure for data collection employed in the field was based on both qualitative and quantitative methodologies within a framework of a case study approach. Interviews, focus group discussions, observations and review of secondary data, were done accordingly. In the existing literature of the social science, a common term used to describe the use of both qualitative and quantitative methods in research is triangulation. Baker (1999) argued that triangulation technique enables a researcher to gather evidence from multiple sources to address the questions from different points of view. One advantage of triangulation is that it can broaden the research and at the same time strengthen the validity of the research. Baker (1999) added this method used when a researcher wants to look at the broad patterns of social life or describe widespread social reactions for instance to social policies. Hence it is powerful means of gaining knowledge about the social world. In this study triangulation method is convenient, in analyzing the risk factors contributing to the cause of road traffic accidents in Kuwait City, for the purpose of letting the community use the information to formulate road safety policy according to their reality and practices. Qualitative methodologies A qualitative research methodology covers a number of alternative techniques, including interviews, participant observation and focus group discussions. Qualitative methodology helps to understand life experiences and to reflect on the understandings and shared meaning of peoples’ everyday social life and realities (Limb, 2001). In this study qualitative approach has been used to collect the primary source of data through interviews with the accident victims who attended at the Kuwaiti hospitals, officials from the Police office, officials from the Hospital, Personal observation and a focus group discussion with Government officials in Kuwait. The goal of collecting information from informants was to seek the views of government officials in various organizations about what the government has done about the road traffic accidents in Kuwait City. This necessitated the need to interview them using the in-depth method with the help of an interview guide. Quantitative methodology In this study quantitative source of data which was collected in the field was the review of hospital records of patients admitted to the hospital as accident victims of all accidents happened in Kuwait City from 2010 to 2011, a checklist form as questionnaire guide was developed to collect this information. The purpose of collecting this information is to assess the pattern and trends of motor vehicle casualties occurred at Kuwait City in a period of 2010 to 2011. The quantitative data will be analyzed by using a statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). The program was extensively used to produce different statistical tables of varying kinds, and in simple statistical computations. A review of records was done systematically, and all records were manually sorted out starting from 2010 to 2011. A questionnaire form was used to pick individual information of these accident victims from the hospitals records. During the field work, the hospital data were entered in a computer using SPSS statistical software. The standard statistical tables were generated to examine the relationship between outcome variables of deaths, injuries with exposure variables of age and gender. The results are summarized to show trends and patterns of motor accidents from the year 2010 to 2011 in tables. Sample Selection Mubarak Alkabber and Alammiri hospitals and Ministry of Interior in Kuwait City was chosen purposively for the study. The reason of choosing these hospitals in order to provide
  5. 5. Triple A Research Journal of Social Science and Humanity (JSSH) | Vol.2 No.3 | October 2018 083 Triple A Res. J. Soc. Sci. Human. Table 2: Trend of Road Traffic Accidents in Kuwait City Type of Violation 2010 2011 Collision 64938 74177 Run Over 336 374 Rollover 478 540 Others 109 103 Total 65861 75194 Source: Police recorded registrations and Hospitals Reports. (2010 – 2011) emergency services to road traffic accident victims. Records of traffic accidents, type of motor involved, number of injured persons, number of killed persons and recording where the accident took place were placed inside the hospitals. The Ministry of Interior is another data collection point of this study, the ministry is the one responsible for the traffic safety, controls, ensuring traffic rules and regulation are followed, they also record and evaluate the causal factor of all traffic accidents in an Kuwait City, again it was relevant for the sake of this study Ministry of Interior to be one of the data collection sources of the study. In an interview study, sampling is connected to the decision of about which persons should be interviewed in order to demonstrate the findings (Patton,1990). Sampling is important in reducing bias in the findings Flick (1998). The sample of respondents included in this study considered the balance between men and women though not equally, but both participated representatively. According to Moen and Rundmo, (2004), in their study on risk argued that a person who is directly wounded by the hazard, he or she will be in a better position to explain with a personal feeling on how dangerous the risk of certain phenomena is. The available information also from the annual report of The National Council of Road Traffic Safety in Kuwait (2010) show that, the most people who experience the effects of road traffic accidents first are the accident victims because they are injured, second is the government who is responsible for the security, the third are the owners of the vehicles who experiences the property damage. Reliability and Validity According to the interviews we had with the police from the Ministry of Interior, the police commander said that there is no updates of police records but hospital records can be updated because they are the once who deals with the accident victims. Therefore, the use of the use of triangulation method helped to verify and covers the gape which is likely to be found in one side of the data collection point. In this regard the researcher gathered evidence from multiple sources to address the research questions from different point of view including the interviews was done. With regards to the issue of reliability, it must be noted that it is not a basic aim of this research. This is because for this study to be replicable it must adhere to strict rules associated with quantitative research and this was not the case in this study. Apart from the fact that the study is not fully quantitative, the finding of this research may not be replicable anywhere even if the same methods (triangulation) of data collection are used. This is because the setting of the study and the period in which the study was carried out can and may affect the findings. (Baker 1999) notes that field work done by different people at different times might well turn up different perspectives and results. Trend of Road Traffic Accidents in Kuwait City The trend of road traffic accidents and type of violation in Kuwait City has been increased for the years (2010 and 2011). The striking thing in table 2 according to the police record registration from the Ministry of Interior and hospitals reports are consistently high. There was a total of 65861 accidents in year 2010 comparing with total of 75194 accidents in year 2011. Distribution of casualties in Kuwait City Table 3 below shows the trend of road traffic accident causalities (Minor, Severe Injured and Killed) persons along Kuwait City highway from 2010 to 2011. Overall there were 2624 causalities with an average of 41% minor injured people, 26% severe injured people, and 33% deaths. The trend seems to suggest that the distribution of casualties increased for the years (2010 and 2011). Traffic accidents are increasing every year, and there are many accidents which are not reported, and in most cases, police receive the information of these unreported accidents through insurance companies who wants to verify the occurrences of these accidents when their customers claim for the compensations. There are several reasons to take into consideration on the trend of traffic accidents in Kuwait City, the commander said, though it is not true to point out just a single factor that can be identified the acceleration of the number of road traffic accident or accidents in Kuwait City; but the most frequently factors experienced by the Police involve a dangerous driving behavior. Others are driving while under influence of alcohol and drugs. One of the accident victims who was interviewed said that, lack of traffic separation, road signs and high traffic volume exposure on the highway contribute strongly to the frequently occurrence of road traffic accident in Kuwait City. Locals’ behavior on
  6. 6. Triple A Research Journal of Social Science and Humanity (JSSH) | Vol.2 No.3 | October 2018 Amer 084 Table 3: Distribution of casualties in Kuwait City Type of Injury 2010 Percentage 2011 Percentage Total Percentage Minor Injury 500 43% 585 40% 1085 41% Severe Injury 286 25% 386 26% 672 26% Death 374 32% 493 34% 867 33% Total 1160 100% 1464 100 2624 100% Source: Police recorded registrations and Hospitals Reports. (2010 – 2011) Table 4: Distribution of Death Causalities by Gender Groups in Kuwait City Death 2010 2011 Total Percentage Male 315 437 752 87% Female 59 56 115 13% Total 374 493 867 100% Source: Police recorded registrations and Hospitals Reports. (2010 – 2011) the usage of the highway as a market place such as petty traders is also another risk factor which contributes to traffic accidents in Kuwait City. Distribution of Death Causalities by Gender Groups in Kuwait City Table 4 shows the distribution number of death causalities by gender group from 2010 to 2011 years in Kuwait City. Overall there were 867 death causalities with an average of 87% of male death and 13% of female death. The results revealed that the highest percentage of those who died in traffic accidents were male for the years (2010 and 2011). The general observation was that males were more involved in road accidents because they travel more in their daily duties compared with females who usually stay at home doing domestic duties. Distribution of Death Causalities by Age Groups in Kuwait City Table 5 below shows the distribution number of death causalities by age groups from 2010 to 2011 years in Kuwait City. The results revealed that almost the highest percentage of those who died in traffic accident were aged (21-30), (31-40), (11-20), and (41-50) years respectively. These findings were consistent with other studies (Bener et al1992) that the majority of victims were males under the age of 30 years. Qualitative Analysis Traffic Death Crisis in Kuwait The Chairperson of Traffic Safety Society, Bader Al Kill, recently conceded that Kuwait has broken the world record in the number of traffic deaths. He said 17 deaths are recorded in every 100,000 accidents; he blamed the Kuwaiti roads, which can accommodate only 700,000 vehicles, while 1.6 million vehicles ply the roads. Compounding the problem, about 80,000 new cars enter the roads every year, according to another study. Crowded roads, driving under the influence of drugs and increasingly distracted drivers has led the Ministry of Interior in Kuwait to formulate a strategic vision to tackle traffic problems based on 2010 and 2011 statistics. Studies show that texting and browsing the Internet and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs are major causes of road accidents. The ministry has proposed that using hands-free technology or even equipping the cars with sound systems are all safer alternatives than using mobile phones while driving. The ministry has made laws against the use of mobile phones while driving more stringent, backing this legislation up with appropriate awareness campaigns. The Mystique of the Automobile Despite alarming accident statistics, the mystique of the automobile continues. In Kuwait, the car is a symbol of social superiority and individuality, one that has become deeply embedded in the soul of Kuwaiti drivers. Those who drive fast cars consider themselves superior to those who use a less powerful form of transport or drive a less powerful type of car. Besides the thrill of speed, adventure, and independence, the car can be a means of self- congratulation when a driver feels he deserves a reward, a sign of how hard he has worked. A luxurious car is one way publicly to pamper oneself. Too many drivers, cars are simply entrancing—the sensation of speed, the sound of the car, the rhythm of the wheels and the continually changing lights and colors induce an almost trance-like state in some Kuwaiti drivers. Some even see driving a car as a form of meditation, feeling at one with the machine. Of course, this delight in driving is not shared by all: for many elderly people, driving a car in modern traffic is no thrill at all;
  7. 7. Triple A Research Journal of Social Science and Humanity (JSSH) | Vol.2 No.3 | October 2018 085 Triple A Res. J. Soc. Sci. Human. Table 5: Distribution of Death Causalities by Age Groups in Kuwait City Age 2010 Percentage 2011 Percentage Total Percentage 1-10 Years 16 4.3% 30 6.1% 46 5.3% 11-20 years 66 17.6% 99 20.1% 165 19.0% 21-30 years 100 26.7% 111 22.5% 211 24.3% 31-40 years 77 20.6% 102 20.7% 179 21.0% 41-50 years 54 14.4% 73 14.8% 127 15.0% 51-60 years 30 8.0% 41 8.3% 71 8.1% 61 and above 30 8.0% 36 7.3% 66 7.1% Unknown 1 0.3% 1 0.2% 2 0.2% Total 374 100% 493 100% 867 100% Source: Police recorded registrations and Hospitals Reports. (2010 – 2011) maneuvering a complex machine through demanding and risky traffic conditions is an experience that only modern times can offer. Risk-taking among Youth Young Kuwaitis usually know how to use the roads safely; some even feel that their behavior becomes more careless as they grow older. But with increasing independence, teenagers who spend less time in the company of adults are free to engage in risks they would not have undertaken in an adult's presence. Although they report that they have engaged in more “common risk” behavior, many felt their increased ability to see over the steering wheel, judge distances, and go faster meant that even when engaging in risky behavior that they were not putting themselves at significantly greater danger. While some admit to participating in “common risk” behavior, many could not explain why they did so, appearing to engage in this behavior subconsciously. Some young Kuwaiti teenagers explained their various risk-taking behaviors in terms of not wanting to waste time: they report not using crossings because it takes “too long” for the light to change; others suggest that behaving cautiously is not a “cool” thing to do. Although some young Kuwaiti people complained that they were not choosing to take risks but that they had to because of the lack of designated crossing places. There is, however, little evidence that increasing the number of crossings would result in a corresponding rise in their use. Even where crossings are plentiful, most young Kuwaiti people admit that they rarely use them. Many of the young Kuwaiti people involved in the research had been involved in a pedestrian road accident or knew a friend who had been. However, even such personal experiences failed to impact their long-term behavior. Talking with young people who have been involved in an accident or who have known someone who has been in one highlights another inconsistency: when asked what would stop them from taking risks on the road, most replied “if it happened to me.” Yet such personal experiences rarely have any effect on actual behavior. For example, those who witnessed very serious accidents felt that it changed their behavior for a few days after the accident, but they soon returned to taking risks on the roads daily. Continuing to engage in risky behavior in some way reflects young Kuwaiti teenagers' definition of “serious.” While many Kuwaiti adults would consider cuts, bruises, and broken bones to be serious (and these are used as the definition for official road accident statistics), many young Kuwaiti people do not see these injuries as warranting concern. To young Kuwaiti teenagers, serious accidents are those which result in death or permanent disability. Dangerous Driving Dangerous driving behavior was identified in most of accidents. These included driving at high speed, tailgating, racing friends, and undertaking hazardous passing maneuvers. Notably, excessive speed was referred to in nearly all cases. In one statement, a witness commented: “My first impression was that [the car] was travelling far too fast to negotiate the bend safely . . . I could see his hands turning the steering wheel to his right in a large movement, his whole-body movement and body language gave me the impression of panic.” In another example, it was noted that male driving style may be affected by the presence of other males in the car, causing them to behave differently from the way they would under other circumstances. In one case, a female friend commented: “He always drove safely with me in the car. He drove faster when he had the lads in the car. I had not experienced him driving excessively fast myself.” The statements presented a positive perception of the driving ability of the deceased. This is interesting, given the knowledge that many collisions are the result of risky or dangerous driving behavior. The partner of one individual reported that the driver was excellent, considering that he was still young and did not have a lot of experience: “He never drove fast with me or [their baby] in the car and certainly wouldn’t do if the roads were potentially risky. He constantly talked about other accidents he’d seen to and from work, which always reassured me that he’d drive safely.” Inexperience and Over-confidence However, statements made by men were not always so positive. One father reported of his son: “He was in my eyes a typical young driver. He had a few bumps and things. I
  8. 8. Triple A Research Journal of Social Science and Humanity (JSSH) | Vol.2 No.3 | October 2018 Amer 086 would say he was a confident driver but at times over confident. He sometimes drove, and I would say, ‘Stop, drop me off.’ I think his driving just needed maturity.” The perception of driving ability was linked to a lack of adherence to safety regulations. Although most young people observed safety regulations, the decision not to wear a seatbelt or helmet suggests that such drivers were confident in their ability to drive without incident. In one case, despite being involved in a collision in the week leading up to his death, the driver chose not to wear a seatbelt, as described by a friend: “I can say that the habit of wearing a seatbelt as he found it too restrictive. I had asked him if he was wearing one when he hit the van [referring to prior collision]. He said he had not but had been able to brace himself on that occasion against the steering wheel.” There was a sense of overconfidence and an inflated view of driving skills and ability in many cases. One case concerned two cars that were involved in a race. On interviewing the male driver of the second car, who was unharmed, the police reported: “He agreed that he had been driving 2 to 3 car lengths behind at approximately 100 km. He did not consider this to be an unsafe following distance.” In another example, a rear-seat passenger stated: “I also saw at least one large arrow shape, indicated to our left. I knew this to mean that we should stay on our own side of the road. [The front seat passenger] was shouting, ‘What are you doing? You are not going to make that!’ or [something] similar. I became aware that we were now on the offside of the road… As this was happening I heard [the front seat passenger] shout a second time. This sounded much more urgent than before as he said, ‘We’re not going to make that.’” Agencies Add: Teen killed: A citizen in his teens died and another sustained severe injuries and additional fractures during a traffic accident on the Fahaheel Expressway. Acting on information the Operations Room of the Interior Ministry received in that concern, paramedics with security operatives rushed to the scene and carried the injured person to Al-Adan Hospital for medical attention, while the remains of the victim were deposited to Forensics. Many young people reported a interest in motor vehicles. There were several examples when an individual reportedly spent time caring for their vehicle, making sure it was kept in a good quality condition, both aesthetically and mechanically. A male mentioned “I always talked about my car and how I loved to drive it”. In another example, a female stated: “I would not wish to damage my car in any way. My car was a pride and joy. I would even pick parking spaces away from other vehicles so that it wouldn’t get marked or damaged.” Families of road accident victims spoke to said that often times the guilty are not the ones who pay for the violations. Minimol, the widow of Xavier, said her husband died when a speeding motorist lost control and crashed into his car. Recently two Kuwaiti girls died on the spot when a bus jumping red light plowed into their car. This underlines the need to make the laws against traffic violations very severe, they added. “Violations like jumping red light should be treated like first degree crime.” Some of them also stressed the need to enforce the law evenly on everybody, citizens and expatriates, to ensure that everyone respects road rules.” DISCUSSION The study has revealed the pattern and trends of motor traffic accidents according to interviews done with the accident victims, governmental traffic commander, focus group discussion with officials and the official from the ministry of health, and hospitals in Kuwait City from 2010 to 2011. There was an increasing every year, passengers and pedestrians are always at highest risk of being injured or killed on the road. Young males are highly prone to motor traffic accidents in Kuwait City. Therefore, risk-taking approach (Iversen and Rundmo, 2002; Oltedal, and Rundmo, 2006; Lund Rundmo, 2009), and other risky road use attitudes have been reported to play roles in road accidents. Deery (1999) has found that young drivers are more susceptible to impaired risk perception and others feel more invulnerable to traffic risks (Weinstein, 1984). Qualitative results showed that the technical element of the highway construction, irresponsibility, poor management, alcohol and drugs, age of the victims and poor condition of services as the important risk factors associating to the cause of traffic accidents. The following issues were identified as factors facilitating the occurrence of road traffic accident in Kuwait City. The police commander said that, there are common risk factors which they normally arrest the drivers in Kuwait City such as overloading the passengers, driving while drunk, over speeding, driving without using the seatbelt, driving without driving license, driving cars without lights, driving cars without insurance, driving cars with worn- out tires, driving cars without site mirrors and overloading the cargo to the trucks. At the same time, he also mentioned that, there is a need to expand the highway and repair it accordingly, traffic separation in the highway is urgently needed, the road is narrow, and it accommodates only two lines, this situation cannot allow overtaking, the land scape is another factor facilitating traffic accidents. The provision of road signs is not enough. One of the main risk factors associated to the course of traffic accidents in Kuwait City is the technical element of the highway construction in the country, the highway road is below standard, and it accommodates high traffic volume without being equipped with traffic safety measures such as traffic separation and appropriate road signs alongside the road. The police commander also mentioned that Kuwait highway road was not designed with the facilities to accommodate the characteristics and behavior of road users, vehicles, traffic and environment. According to system theory, a system of highway designed to ensure that road users adhere to the controls and regulations of traffic flow for maintaining road traffic safety (Haur, 1995:136; Button, 1993:80). An interview with accident victims identifies that poor visual guidance and poorly controlled and uncontrolled intersections and access to the road are the main risk factors relating to traffic
  9. 9. Triple A Research Journal of Social Science and Humanity (JSSH) | Vol.2 No.3 | October 2018 087 Triple A Res. J. Soc. Sci. Human. accidents in Kuwait City. All these risk factors are conflicted with the system theory. On the other hand, most informants mentioned that, driving while using cell phone is one of the human behavior factors contributing to the cause of road traffic accidents in Kuwait City. During the focus group discussion, it was presented by the officer that, “A hand –held cellular phone is used in a variety of circumstances by road users in Kuwait City, while walking down the street (pedestrians) or operating motor vehicle. According to the interviews with accident victims, some mentioned that, their accidents were caused by the drivers when using the mobile phone just before the accident, when driver was concentrating to the cellular phones, passengers (accident victims) detected unstable movement of the vehicle and immediately the collision to another vehicle happened. These finding are consisted with the research studies (Wilde, 2002, and Adams 1995). According to the interview with the traffic police and the accident victims they all mentioned that driving profession seem to be possessed by less educated people in Kuwait City. This means that the quality of drivers in Kuwait City is one of the risk contributing factors to traffic accidents. It has been identified and observed by the police that, most drivers in Kuwait City are driving at a speed higher than appropriate for a given road and traffic conditions, Drivers do not pay attention to the needs of non-motorized traffic and other road users, drivers are exposing oneself to traffic while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. These all behaviors contribute to the course of traffic accidents in Kuwait City and consisted with the previous research studies (Carmen Del Rio et al., 2002; Drummer et al., 2003; Jones et al., 2009). While interviewing Officials from the hospital they all emphasized that, drivers in Kuwait do not tend to undergo regular checkup for ascertaining proper functioning of their sensitive organs such as eyes, ears, heart etc. and this can also be one of the risk factors associated to cause of traffic accident. CONCLUSION Road safety education will lead better knowledge and understanding which automatically will save lives and reduce the number of injuries and deaths in future, children will also educate their parents, and children will be out future drivers who shall be safe road users. Teaching and learning methodologies are highly participatory. Students centered techniques are well elaborated in all syllabi including teachers and tutor’s modules. Such techniques among others include: excursions, role plays, songs, poems, group discussions, question and answer, brainstorming, demonstrations, tabletop exercises, drama, and project work. A driving license database should be developed and implemented. It should be noted that properly educated drivers will have a positive impact on traffic safety. Efforts must focus on the young future driving license holders. The Kuwaiti government can play a big role to remedy the situation for relief if road safety is considered to be one of the priorities in its distribution and allocation of resources in terms of budget, supply of resources, updating the laws and rules, implementing the road safety policy and empower Community involvement to be responsible, accountable and participate on road safety matters so as to combat road traffic accidents. The traffic police should strengthen surveillance and enforcement to net drivers who drink alcohol beverages and then drive their vehicles to reduce those accidents which occur during weekends and at nights. For example, in order to track down cell phone-related road accidents, police should be required to record among other factors, whether or not a cellular phone was present at the time of the accident. And laws should be imposed to restrict the use of cell phones when driving. 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