Causes and effects of road traffic accidents in Saudi Arabia

Public Health. 2000 Jan;114(1):37-9. doi: 10.1038/


In Saudi Arabia the motor vehicle is the main means of transportation. Between 1971 and 1997; 564,762 people died or were injured in road traffic accidents, a figure equivalent to 3.5% of the total population in Saudi Arabia. During this period 66,914 people have died on the roads in Saudi Arabia due to road accidents, amounting to one person killed and four injured every hour. Over 65% of accidents occur because of vehicles travelling at excess speed and/or drivers disobeying traffic signals. Of deaths in Ministry of Health hospitals, 81% are due to road traffic accidents and 20% of their beds are occupied by traffic accidents victims. Also, 79.2% of patients admitted to Riyadh Armed Forces Hospital with spinal injuries has sustained their injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident. We recommend compulsory use of safety seat belts in vehicles and the setting up of a new database to collect, store and analyse information relating to the road traffic accidents.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic* / mortality
  • Humans
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology
  • Seat Belts
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*