ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The number of car accidents is growing at an alarming rate each year in the Kurdistan Region, with 185 deaths and 2,150 injured individuals in 2019 so far, the General Traffic Directorate of Erbil reported on Monday.
Assad Karim, the spokesperson for the Erbil General Traffic Directorate, told Kurdistan 24, “In the first five months of 2019, more than 700,000 traffic violations have been committed, which is 200,000 more than the last four months of 2018.”
In that same time period, “traffic incidents totaled 1,750.”
Karim also stated, “Part of the cause is the deteriorating state of roads, especially the roads connecting the governorates” of Erbil, Duhok, and Sulaimani.
“Another major cause is the lack of awareness among drivers, the disregard of traffics rules and laws, both a major factor behind the increased number of violations and car accidents in recent years,” Karim added.
According to last year’s data, in the autonomous region’s capital of Erbil alone, 1,384 traffic accidents occurred, resulting in the death of 262 people and wounding 1,401 more.
It is in the government’s master-plan, to renovate and construct two-lane roads linking the provinces and large cities in the Kurdistan Region. Construction has already begun in some places, but the recent economic crisid slowed down and even halted the process in most areas.
Erbil’s financial shortcomings were compounded by the emergence of the Islamic State in northern Iraq in 2014, along with cuts to the Kurdistan Region’s share of the national budget by the previous federal government of Iraq, and the influx of almost two million displaced people and refugees to the region.
Editing by Nadia Riva