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Evaluation of Road Traffic Injuries in Lebanon

Evaluation of Road Traffic Injuries in Lebanon

1. Introduction about injury surveillance

In most developing countries and cities, the present status of road safety information is relatively poor. The major obstacle to an improved road safety in developing countries is the absence of comprehensive, detailed, and reliable information. In 1981, The UN/WHO conference on RTI in developing countries acknowledged that: 
Information was central to the whole question of a rational, scientific approach to the problems of road safety. Without adequate data sources and facilities for data collection, analysis and interpretation, there could be no efficient countermeasures, evaluations, strategies, and-perhaps most importantly-no clear case to put to national policy-makers charged with allocating scarce resources to different sectors of the economy.
Many developing countries have crash recording procedures-often for judicial purposes-but the data is not in a form suitable for systematic analysis and for guiding remedial actions.  The British Medical Association (BMA) has called the resulting numbers of road injuries “not only defective but positively misleading”. The BMA estimated that some 30 % of traffic crashes casualties seen in hospital are not reported to the police, and that 70 % of cyclist casualties in Britain go unrecorded.
In 1987, Nilsson  reported that some hospital records of traffic casualties in Sweden are twice as large as that recorded by the police and, in certain cases, is even larger in those age groups, which use bicycle or walk more than other age groups. He also reported that in a research project undertaken in Italy, traffic crashes reporting systems of ten west European countries and one East European were investigated. The research results showed (a) a wide gap between these systems; (b) all forms included the date, time, weather, and location information, and (c) differences as to the details of crash location, road category and pavement characteristics, injury causation, persons involved and crash type.
Reliable surveillance and registration systems form a cornerstone for the success of road safety interventions. International cooperation is highly required to establish better injury surveillance systems in developing countries. But, every country and every organization has its own needs and problems that should be considered in building the most suitable RTI surveillance system. It is crucial to take advantage of developed countries experiences in training staff and assisting concerned public agencies in building RTI surveillance systems in developing countries and cities.                              
The term surveillance as used in public health field refers to the ongoing and systematic collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of health information. The standard definition of “Surveillance” as used by WHO is: “Surveillance is the ongoing, systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of health data essential to the planning, implementation, and evaluation of health practice, closely integrated with the timely dissemination of these data to those who need to know. The final link of the surveillance chain is in the application of these data to prevention and control. A surveillance system includes a functional capacity for data collection, analysis and dissemination linked to public health programs”.    
Injury surveillance produces data that describe:
- the size and characteristics of the injury problem ( i.e. what are the number of cases of injury, broken down by type, and what are the characteristics of each type?);
- the populations at risk (i.e. which kind of people are most likely to incur each type of injury, and what things are associated with each type of injury?);
- the risk factors (i.e. what things contribute to each type of injury, and what things are associated with each type of injury?);
- the trends ( i.e. is a particular type of injury occurring more or less frequently, and is it doing more or less harm?).
Armed with such data it is possible to:
-design and apply appropriate interventions;
            -monitor the results and assess the impacts of the interventions.
The central aim of safety promotion efforts is to advance knowledge, study successful interventions in safety promotion and promote best practices. The role of data in RTI prevention is crucial in orienting interventions and in designing and planning to reduce the negative impacts of RTI.
In Lebanon, the surveillance of RTI is of great concern to a growing number of students, researchers. One major recommendation of the fifth national conference for road safety organized jointly by YASA Lebanon and SRF in January 9 & 10, 2004 recommended improving the quality of RTI surveillance and information. Many researchers, journalists, traffic engineers have different data needs.  The conference stressed the aforementioned recommendations in order to use better data to:
Access risk factors and determinants causing RTI in Lebanon and on regional basis ( Cazas, municipalities ….).
Develop and evaluate interventions based on the results of the data and the needs for action to face causes of RTI.
Provide accurate and reliable for policy – makers and civil society leaders about the huge losses caused by RTI on the national level. There is a need to give more priority to need safety in Lebanon.

2. Road Accident Statistics in Lebanon
            In Lebanon, police departments provide the Traffic Emergency Committee (TEC) in the ministry of interior and municipalities, with data regarding road traffic crashes and RTI for two purposes. The main traditional reason is for judicial and insurance purposes resulting from crashes (civil and penal responsibilities, compensations, hospitalization costs…). Since 2001, another reason to do Road Accident Statistics in Lebanon has been to prepare on almost a daily basis a summary report to media (journals, TV and radios) about major crashes and the location of these crashes and publishing the names of killed and seriously injured on Lebanese roads.
Unfortunately, the two aforementioned reasons cover only a part of the needs of injury surveillance and registration according to current international standards. It is crucial to `raise the awareness of policy makers in Lebanon about the benefits of the national injury surveillance (NIS) system in Lebanon. The main objective of the NIS should be to establish a reliable database to evaluate, at a municipality level and on a caza level, the quality and the performance of various road safety actors.
2.1 Information Systems
              Historically, the RTI problem was neglected in Lebanon. Up to 2003 the Traffic Police was using a very basic form of recording traffic crashes and collected only a minimal amount of accident variables. The information available was limited and no valuable analysis was therefore possible. In 2004, after sustainable efforts mainly from the TEC, YASA Lebanon and the traffic engineer Mr. Omar Attalah, a major difference was noted in the form used by the police who included many new variables of positive impact on evaluating road safety. The information was also stored in a proper database.
          However, according to SRF, variables found in the new police form are not being well used due to the minimal budget and support given to the TEC which is temporarily directed by a new young officer Capitan Elie Hawila. In brief, the new system is still in development and needs much more to b well implemented.
2.2 Definitions and Underreporting
     The Traffic Police only investigates traffic crashes resulting in personal injury, including fatalities. Damages only crashes are not covered but are probed by the insurance companies. Most traffic crashes involving army and police vehicles are not recorded. According to SRF estimates they may constitute about 15 % of all road-related fatalities.
The official TEC statistics only include fatalities in connection with the crash. There is no follow-up afterwards at the hospitals and, consequently, Lebanon does not follow the international definition of fatalities, which counts deaths resulting from road accidents up to 30 days. These may constitute up to 25 % of all fatalities killed by traffic crashes.
The official registration of traffic crashes suffers from underreporting of a great magnitude with the serious consequence that the road safety problem in Lebanon is greatly underestimated.

It is by its nature impossible to establish the exact extent of the underreporting. Because of the uncertainty of the statistics it is hard to make authoritative assertions based on the current poor surveillance and registration systems.
The published figures from the Traffic Emergency Committee indicates that the road safety situation in Lebanon is not a grave problem, whereas adjusting for the serious underreporting presents the opposite scenario that RTI are a causing a serious problem in Lebanon. Unfortunately, these reports that underestimate the size of the RTI problem in Lebanon are considered by the ministry of interior which causes a serious problem in dealing with the road safety problem in Lebanon.

3. Analyses of officially reported traffic crashes, serious injuries and fatalities 
Table 1. Total number of police reported traffic crashes, injured and fatalities in Lebanon 1996–2003.
 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 Est. 2003 -Oct. 2003
Traffic crashes
Absolute numbers 
Index 1996=100 100 116 110 114 110 118 101 80 
Absolute numbers 3,265 3,463 3,424 3,529 3,582 3,865 3,206 2,760 2,300
Index 1996=100 100 106 105 108 110 118 98 85 
Absolute numbers 343 377 343 358 313 323 334 349 291
Index 1996=100 100 110 100 104 91 94 97 102 
Injured per crash
 1.5 1.4 1.5 1.5 1.4 1.5 1.5 1.6 
Fatality Index
 11 11 10 10 9 8 10 12 
Source: TEC 2003 was estimated by taking 12/10 of the actual reporting until October.
Table 2. Number of injured including fatalities as transported by the Red Cross and the Traffic Emergency Committee 2001–2003.
 2001 2002 2003 (est.) 2003–Oct.
Red Cross 4,797 5,725 6,084 5,070
TEC 4,188 3,540 3,109 2,591
Red Cross Index 100 119 127 
TEC Index  100 85 74 
  Source: Red Cross and the Traffic Emergency Committee.
The injury statistics from the Traffic Emergency Committee paints a positive development of the traffic injury trends. In just two years there has been a reduction of the number of accident by more than 20%. The numbers from the Red Cross and from the SRF show the absolute opposite.
3.1 Fatalities per 100,000 Inhabitants
There is no official population figure and estimates from various sources for 2003 range from 3.9 million to 4.2 million. It should be noted that there is a large foreign presence in Lebanon, which definitely affects the traffic environment. The number of foreign residents has been estimated to more than one million.
The traffic volume – vehicle km – is assumed to increase by 3 % annually in the next decade while the road safety improvement factor – the annual reduction of traffic crashes at the same traffic volume – is assumed to be 2 %. This includes a safer vehicle stock and effects of road safety campaigns and other measures.
Table 3. Number of fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants 1997, 2003 and 2010 (estimates).
 1997 2003 2010
Population (million) 3.4 3.8 4.2
Nº of fatalities 377 349 360
Nº of fatalities, UNDER 660 611 630
Nº of fatalities/100,000 pop 11.2 9.2 8.6
Nº of fatalities/100,000 pop UNDER 19.6 16.1 15.1
   Source: Traffic Emergency committee.
With consideration taken to the underreporting the road fatality situation gives a serious impression with a road fatality with high risk.
3.2 Fatalities per 10,000 Vehicles
The official number of vehicles in Lebanon was 783,000 in 1997. The SRF considered that the number of registered vehicles is around 20 % less the real one due to many factors. In 2004, it is estimated that there are more than 1, 3 million in 2004. Lebanon is having a high degree of motorization of 320 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants in 2004.
It is assumed that the yearly growth rate is 4 or 5 %, leaving Lebanon after one decade with around 1.9 or 2 million vehicles which is equivalent to around 470 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants (almost equivalent to the saturation point in most developed countries). According to the chairman of the TEC in 1998, he considered that the underreporting of deaths and serious injuries are around 35 %.

Table 4. Number of fatalities per 10,000 vehicles 1997, 2003 and 2010 (estimates).
 1997 2003 2010
Nº of vehicles (000) 783 1,103 1,551
Nº of fatalities 377 349 360
Nº of fatalities, UNDER 660 611 630
Nº fatalities/10,000 vehicles  4.8 3.2 2.3
Nº fatalities/10,000 vehicles UNDER 8.4 5.5 4.1
Source: Traffic Emergency Committee, Workshop on Land Transport Policy For Lebanon 1997   and Traffic Management Organization regarding the number of vehicles.
The number of reported/estimated fatalities compared to the size of the vehicle fleet is about the same in Lebanon as in many developed countries. With a continued rapid growth of the vehicle population, the ratio will decrease further.
Even with the present underreporting, Lebanon has a similar fatality/vehicle population rate than most developed countries. According to YASA Lebanon, this is not acceptable due to the fact that Lebanon has a relatively small network of only 6700 kilometers which must reflected in a lower risk of in RTI.
 1997 2003 2010
Vehicle km (billion) 12.3 17.4 20.7
Vehicles (000) 783 1,103 1,551
Fatalities  377 349 360
Fatalities UNDER 660 611 630
Killed/1 billion vehicle km 30.7 20.1 17.4
Killed/1 billion vehicle km UNDER 53.7 35.1 30.5
3.3 Fatalities per Vehicle Km
Table 5. Fatalities per Vehicle Km 1997, 2003 and in 2010 (estimates).
Source: Workshop on Land Transport Policy for Lebanon, TEC.
The total vehicle km for Lebanon was estimated in 1997 to be 12,3 billion km giving an average annual mileage of 15,760 km for each vehicle. That ratio has then been used for extrapolating the total mileage for 2003 and 2010 assuming that the annual increase in vehicle km is 2.5 % per year between 2003 and 2010.
The table shows that the exposure, the risk of being killed in a road crash, is higher in Lebanon than in developed countries. With underreporting considered, the scenario becomes even more serious. With an increased vehicle stock and increased mileage, the ratio is expected to decrease substantially until 2010.
3.4 Injured per 100,000 Inhabitants
Table 6. Number of Injured per 100,000 Inhabitants 1997, 2003 and 2010 (estimates).
 1997 2003 2010
Population (million) 3.4 3.8 4.2
Nº injured 3,463 2,760 3,281
Nº injured, UNDER 6,928 5,520 6,562
Nº injuries/100,000 pop 103 73 77
Nº injuries/100,000 pop UNDER 206 145 157
Source: Traffic Emergency Committee.
The number of injured is assumed to increase annually by 2.5 % until 2010 bearing in mind increased traffic and population. However, it should be noted that such a forecast undermines the official statistics for the number of injured which indicate a 25 % decrease between 1997 and 2003.
3.5 Road Traffic Injuries by Cause
Table 7. Road Traffic Injuries by Cause 2001–2002.
 2001  % 2002  %
Speed 589 23.6 413 19.3
Inattention 944 37.8 855 39.9
Speed and inattention 425 17.0 406 18.9
Pedestrian violation 15 0.6 43 2.0
Mechanical failure 132 5.3 147 6.9
Skidding 69 2.8 29 1.4
Other 325 13.0 252 11.7
Total 2,499 100 2,145 100
Source: Traffic Emergency Committee-Ministry of INTERIOR.
The specified “causes” are too simplistic and do not allow any scientific analysis. “Inattention” can be said to be a reason for most traffic but it does not really explain what behavior or series of events that contributed to the traffic crash. Usually, there is a combination of causes that lead to an injury. According to YASA Lebanon, this part was the worse part of the police report and it needs a complete review in order to put clear details in the registration form that will allow more analysis and research about the RTI problem in LEBANON. It is highly needed to separate the supplementary data filled by the police on a given type of injury into minimum and optional data sets. According to many officers in the ISF, it is highly recommended to train the police on the RTI surveillance and registration system.   
3.6 Road Traffic crashes with injuries- 
Casualties per Province (Source: Traffic Emergency Committee).
Table 8. Road Traffic crashes with Serious Injuries per Province, 1997–2002, Absolute Number.
  Province Road Traffic CRASHES  with serious Injuries
   1997   1998    1999   2000      2001      2002
 North 343 362 556 366 448 437
 Mount Lebanon 797 746 580 787 867 718
 Beirut 809 630 508 443 299 220
 Bekaa 307 362 556 439 464 389
 South 98 93 72 158 246 173
 Nabatiye 98 140 145 143 175 208
 Total 2,452 2,333 2,417 2,336 2,499 2,145
Table 9. Road Traffic Crashes with serious injuries per Province, 1997–2002, Index 1997=100.
Province Road Traffic CRASHES  with serious Injuries
1997    1998     1999     2000    2001     2002
North 100 106 162 107 131 127
Mount Lebanon 100 94 73 99 109 90
Beirut 100 78 63 55 37 27
Bekaa 100 118 181 143 151 127
South 100 95 73 161 251 177
Nabatiye 100 143 148 146 179 212
Total 100 95 99 95 102 87
Source: Traffic Emergency Committee.
Most RTI occur in the Mount Lebanon province. It is noteworthy that while the total number of injury accidents dropped by 13 % between 1997 and 2003, their geographical distribution has changed considerably during the period. In 1997 there were 809 injury accidents in Beirut whereas in 2002, 220 injury accidents were reported, a dramatic drop of 73 %. On the other hand there was a great rise of injury accidents in the South and Nabatiye during the same period, almost by 100 %. The North and the Bekaa provinces also noted a substantial increase during the same time, by 27 %.
How can one explain the dramatic drop in the number of reported injury accidents in Beirut? There are probably several contributing factors. The improved road measures and traffic management that were instituted during the period can partially explain fewer accidents. Another hypothesis is that the traffic congestion in Beirut increased to the degree that motor accidents do not cause serious injuries to the same extent as in 1997. It is true that traffic has increased substantially in Beirut during the past five years. A third explanation could be that the injury accidents are not reported to the same extent as in 1997. However, as can be seen from table 8, the trend of fewer road injury accidents in Beirut is very clear.
Table 10. Injured and Fatalities in Road Accidents per Province 2001 and 2002.
Province Injured Fatalities Injured/Crash
 2001  2002   2001 2002 2001 2002
North 619 640 69 66 1.38 1.46
Mount Lebanon 1,298 1,038 113 147 1.50 1.45
Beirut 364 257 12 13 1.22 1.17
 Bekaa 840 685 80 62 1.81 1.76
South 388 264 31 28 1.58 1.53
Nabatiye 356 322 18 18 2.03 1.55
Total 3,865 3,206 323 334 1.55 1.49
Source: Traffic Emergency Committee.
According to the official statistics, the number of persons injured in traffic decreased by 17 % in Lebanon between 2001 and 2002 from 3,865 to 3,206. All provinces noted a decrease except the North. The number of traffic fatalities increased however by 3.3 % country wide to 334. In Mount Lebanon the fatalities increased by 30.1 % while the Bekaa province saw a reduction of 22.5 %. From the Injured per Crash rows it can be surmised that traffic crashes in Beirut are much less severe, causing fewer injuries than they are in the Bekaa province, where there are no jams compared to the capital.
3.7 Crashes with serious RTI by Crash Type
Table 11. Crashes with serious RTI by Crash Type From 1999 till 2002, Absolute Numbers.
1999  2000   2001 2002
Vehicle/Vehicle 1,245 1,297 1,367 1,153
Vehicle/Pedestrian 749 584 672 642
Single Vehicle/Collision 181 203 214 158
Single Vehicle/Rollover 242 252 246 192
Total 2,417 2,336 2,499 2,145
Source:  Traffic Emergency Committee.
Table 12. Crashes with serious RTI by Crash Type 1999–2002, Index 1999=100.
1999  2000  2001   2002
Vehicle/Vehicle 100 104 110 93
Vehicle/Pedestrian 100 78 90 86
Single Vehicle/Collision 100 112 118 87
Single Vehicle Rollover 100 104 72 79
Total 100 97 103 89
Source: Traffic Emergency Committee.
Most traffic crashes causing serious injuries are of course between vehicles. It is necessary to have a more exact specification of the collision type and of the motor vehicles involved but this is not available for those years. Official reports show that all types of RTI decreased between 1999 and 2002. Almost a third of the reported crashes with serious RTI are between a vehicle and pedestrian.
3.8 Road Injury Crashes, Injured and Fatalities by Gender
Table 13. Gender of Drivers Involved in traffic crashes in 2002.
Traffic crashes %
Male 3,126 91.7
Female 282 8.3
Total 3,408 100
Source: Traffic Emergency Committee.
92 % of the drivers INVOLVED in the reported TRAFFIC CRAHES are male while only 8 % are female.
Table 14. Number of Injured by Gender in 2002.
Injured %
Male 2,376 74.1
Female 830 25.9
Total 3,206 100
Source: Traffic Emergency Committee.
Three out of four persons injured in road TRAFFIC CRAHES are male again reflecting that most drivers AT RISK in Lebanon are males.
Table 15. Number of Fatalities by Gender in 2002.
Fatalities %
Male 265 79.3
Female 69 20.1
Total 334 100
Source: Traffic Emergency Committee.
Four out of five fatal victims are male which reflects the fact that most drivers are male.

3.9 Casualties by Age Group
Table 16. Number of Casualties by Age Group in 2002.
Age Group Fatalities % Injured %
0-5 11 3.3 62 1.9
6-9 13 3.9 89 2.8
10-14 28 8.4 126 3.9
15-17 16 4.8 192 6.0
18-25 72 21.6 1,072 33.4
26-40 66 19.8 886 27.6
41-50 28 8.4 338 10.5
51-60 24 7.2 191 6.0
61- 76 22.8 250 7.8
TOTAL 334 100 3,206 100
Source: Traffic Emergency Committee.
Since 2002, the police started to divide the age group as shown in the table. There no room to compare with other years, because age groupings were recorded differently in the past. 
It is important to check whether the staffs are well instructed to estimate the age where they can not get the exact information. The SRF recommended to have a category in the final report with AGE unknown in order to be better analyse the results.
As in most countries the old and the young are the most vulnerable in traffic and this is true in Lebanon as well. According to TEC, 23 % of the fatalities are in the age group 61 and older and 1 of every 5 traffic fatality is younger than 18 years. The age distribution for the injured is quite different. It could be remarked, that 6 out of 10 traffic victims are in the 18–25 and 26–40 age groups.

3.10 RTI by Nationality
Table 17. Nationality of Injured and Fatalities Involved in traffic crashes in the year 2002.
 Injured % Fatalities %
Lebanese 2,828 88.2 257 76.9
Foreign 378 11.8 77 23.1
Total 3,206 100 334 100
Source: Traffic Emergency Committee.
12 % of the traffic injured and 23 % of the fatalities had foreign nationality. It is obvious that the foreign nationality ratio is twice as high for fatalities as for injured, this is mainly because of the lower socio-economic of the majority of foreign workers in the country.
3.11 Crashes with serious RTI by Vehicle Category
Table 18. Crashes with serious RTI by Vehicle Category 1997–2002.
1997   1998   1999    2000    2001   2002
Cars 1,864 1,819 1,846 1,853 1,952 1,648
Trucks 172 186 154 156 148 109
Motorcycles & Bicycles 416 328 417 327 399 388
Total 2,452 2,333 2,417 2,336 2,499 2,145
Source: Traffic Emergency Committee.
Table 19. Crashes with serious RTI by Vehicle Category 1997–2002, Index 1997=100.
1997 1998 1999  2000  2001   2002
Cars 100 98 99 99 105 88
Trucks 100 108 90 91 86 63
Motorcycles & Bicycles 100 79 100 79 96 93
Total 100 95 99 95 102 87
Source: Traffic Emergency Committee.
Table 20. Number of Seriously Injured and Fatalities by Vehicle Category 2002.
 Injured % Fatalities %
Cars 2,580 80.5 258 77.3
Trucks 177 5.5 29 8.7
Motorcycles & Bicycles 449 14.0 47 14.1
Total 3,206 100 334 100
Source: Traffic Emergency Committee.
From the TEC tables above, it can be derived that the number of traffic crashes has decreased in all vehicle categories during 1997–2002. According to SRF, the major problem in tables 18, 19 and 20 is that the number of motorcycles and injuries occurred on motorcycles are not reliable due to the fact that not more than one third of motorcycles are registered.
3.12 Traffic crashes with serious RTI and Casualties by Weekday
Table 21. Traffic crashes with serious injuries and Fatalities by Weekday in the year 2002.
 Traffic crashes % Injured % Fatalities %
Monday 302 14.1 478 14.9 41 12.3
Tuesday 296 13.8 425 13.3 46 13.8
Wednesday 267 12.4 371 11.6 36 10.8
Thursday 279 13.0 362 11.3 41 12.3
Friday 276 12.9 399 12.4 44 13.2
Saturday 346 16.1 560 17.5 53 15.9
Sunday 379 17.7 611 19.1 73 21.9
Total 2,145 100 3,206 100 334 100
Source: Traffic Emergency Committee.
Sunday is the weekday with most traffic crashes followed by Saturday. The number of fatalities is twice as high on Sundays as Wednesdays and there is a clear correlation with the traffic volume.
3.13 Traffic crashes with serious RTI and Casualties by Hour
Traffic crashes % Injured % Fatalities %
00-03 am 81 3.8 132 4.1 25 7.5
03-06 am 71 3.3 93 2.9 19 5.7
06-12 am 519 24.2 743 23.2 82 24.6
12-18 pm 870 40.6 1,300 40.5 105 31.4
18-21 pm 408 19.0 632 19.7 67 20.1
21-24 pm 196 9.1 306 9.5 36 10.8
Total 2,145 100 3,206 100 334 100
Table 22. Traffic crashes with serious RTI and Casualties by Hour in the year 2002.
Source: Traffic Emergency Committee.
Most traffic crashes occur in the afternoon, most likely during the rush hour. A breakdown by hour would indicate more precisely when the traffic crashes occur.
3.14 Road Injuries and Casualties by Month
Table 23. Traffic crashes with injuries and Casualties by Month in the year 2002.
Traffic crashes with injuries % Injured % Fatalities %
January 169 7.9 253 7.9 16 4.8
February 179 8.3 271 8.5 23 6.9
March 140 6.5 204 6.4 19 5.7
April 153 7.1 233 7.3 24 7.2
May 199 9.3 279 8.7 25 7.5
June 166 7.7 241 7.5 31 9.3
July 176 8.2 274 8.5 29 8.7
August 216 10.1 352 11.0 22 6.6
September 195 9.1 292 9.1 42 12.6
October 197 9.2 271 8.5 38 11.4
November 188 8.8 265 8.3 39 11.7
December 167 7.8 271 8.5 26 7.8
Total 2,145 100 3,206 100 334 100
   Source: Traffic Emergency Committee.
As in most countries, the records of traffic crashes and injuries are almost the same all over the year with a slight rise in the period of more travels that is the summer period in Lebanon, especially the month of August with the maximum number of crashes and injuries in Lebanon.
3.15 Traffic Rules Violations
Table 24. Traffic Rules Violations in the years 2001 and 2002.
 2001 2002 Change
Driving rules 6,048 2,672 -3,376
Passing priority 8,524 226 -8,298
Speeding 39,736 19,300 -20,436
Stopping and parking 150,942 116,545 -34,397
Crossing and overtaking 332 434 102
Lights, signals and warnings 1,014 1,322 308
Signs 1,918 2,264 346
Licenses and authorizations 11,256 15,509 4,253
Equipments 1,445 963 -482
Measurements 129 148 19
Weights and loads 1,375 924 -451
Disregard for transportation tariff 284 28 -256
Seat belts 18,111 20,244 2,133
Driving against traffic direction 1,854 1,484 -370
Disrespect for policeman 2,212 2,843 631
Slowing down to pick up passengers 589 1,762 1,173
Talking on mobile phones 811 826 15
Administrative decisions 1,075 4,067 2,992
Miscellaneous 18,095 23,197 5,102
Total 265,750 214,758 -50,992
Source: Traffic Emergency Committee.
There was a marked decrease in the number of reported traffic violations between 2001 and 2002. Unfortunately, there was less enforcement by the Traffic Police in years 2002 and 2003, due to the low priority given to road safety compared to year 2001 and due to the failure in the collection of the traffic violations in year 2001.
3.16 Red Cross
Table 25. Number of Transported Traffic Victims (Injured) in Beirut and Mount Lebanon 2001–2003, by the Lebanese Red cross.
Age Group   2001 2002 2003 Factual Jan–Nov 2003
 Estimated Change 2002–2003 %
0-15 165 140 205 224 + 60.0
16-30 1,645 1,687 1,935 2,110 + 25.1
31-45 535 602 775 845 + 40.4
46- 760 1,121 585 638 - 43.0
Total 3,105 3,550 3,500 3,817 + 7.5
 Note: 2003 has been estimated as 12/11 of the actual figures January–November. Statistics was not available for the other regions at the time of writing. ‘Traffic dead’ is not included, as the Red Cross normally does not transport them.
The table shows a very worrisome trend whereby the number of traffic injuries in the Beirut and Mount Lebanon region increased by 14.3 % between 2001 and 2002 and a further estimated 7.5 % in 2003. Sometimes, inconsistencies can be explained by differences in definitions and statistical methods and it goes to underline the importance of having a solid road accident information system whereby, if the data capture routines are followed properly, the discussion may shift from questioning the veracity of the data to actually let the data be the leading light in finding solutions to the road safety problem.
3.17 Damages Only Traffic crashes
This type of crashes is not yet investigated by the Traffic Police, but is handled by the insurance companies who consult investigators certified by the Ministry of Justice. No statistics have been compiled for all insurance companies.
3.18 Number of Vehicles
Table 26. Number of Vehicles in Lebanon 1997 and 2002 ( Traffic Management Organization).
 1997 2002 Change %
Private cars 715,620 888,880 +24.2
Trucks 59,647 110,369 +85,0
Buses 7,948 9,637 +21.3
Motorcycles N/A 35,013 
Total  1,043,899 
The number of vehicles is increasing very rapidly. In 2003 about 50,000 new vehicles were registered, up from about 30,000 new vehicles in the year 1997.
3.19 Conclusions of the Review of Traffic crashes Statistics in Lebanon
As in most countries in the Middle East region, the full extent of the road safety problem in Lebanon is not fully appreciated due to the fact that road crashes causing injuries/fatalities are underreported. A fatality is in Lebanon being counted as resulting in death immediately in the scene of the crash or the next three days, whereas the international standard includes fatalities up to 30 days after the occurrence of the traffic crash. The number of fatalities in Lebanon could be increased by 25 % for that reason alone.
Another known reason for the underreporting is that most traffic crashes involving Lebanese and Syrian Army vehicles do not enter the official statistics. SRF estimates indicate that army vehicles are involved in15 % of all accidents.
A major problem in the registration system is that damages only do not enter the accident statistics at all since the insurance companies handle them. The number of Damages only accidents in Lebanon could be well over 100,000. Injuries are not separated into serious and minor injuries, which make it harder to analyze the severity of the injuries. As a result an analysis of the road accident situation in Lebanon diverges depending on if underreporting is considered or not. The official statistics does in fact paint a partially positive trend of the road accidents. While the number of fatalities was increasing to an estimated 349 in 2003 from 323 in 2001, during the same period the number of injury accidents decreased by almost 1/3 from 2,499 in 2001 to an estimated 1,703 in 2003. The number of injured traffic victims decreased by 1,100 from 3,865 to 2,760 according to the same source which does not reconcile with the trend of fatalities.
As in most countries, the young and the old sections of the populations are at great risk in Lebanon. 20 % of the fatalities in 2002 were under 18 years old and 23 % were above 60 years old. 79 % of the fatalities were male, a reflection of the fact that most drivers are male. Most traffic crashes occur in the Mount Lebanon province where the traffic is most intense. 12 % of the injured and 23 % of the fatalities in 2002 was of foreign nationality. It is not immediately obvious why foreigners should have such a high percentage of the fatalities.
The road accident statistics in Lebanon is in the process of being developed and at the moment only some basic indicators are available. For a more detailed road safety analysis to be made in the future, it is recommended that the following variables are captured as well:
Collision type (head-on, side, rollover, etc.)
Road geometry (curve, junction, bridge, etc.)
Surroundings (urban/rural)
Weather and light condition
Posted speed limit
Driver behaviour (contributing to the accident)
X, Y coordinates (to permit black spot analysis)
Exposure data, vehicle km, person km

As in most countries, the young and the old sections of the populations are at great risk in Lebanon. 20 % of the fatalities in 2002 were under 18 years old and 23 % were above 60 years old. 79 % of the fatalities were male, reflecting the fact that most drivers are male. Most traffic crashes occur in the Mount Lebanon province where the traffic is most intense. 89 % of the injured and 77 % of the fatalities in 2002 were of Lebanese nationality.
The overall road safety situation in Lebanon is poor compared to developed countries. The actual number of casualties is relatively high in relation to the road network and the number of motor vehicles compared with countries with EU countries.
One major remark of studying the RTI Surveillance of Lebanon is that the full extent of the road safety problem is not fully appreciated due to the fact that road crashes causing injuries/fatalities are underreported. In Lebanon a fatality is usually considered as a casualty resulting in death immediately at the crash site or during the next two or three days, whereas the international standard includes fatalities up to 30 days after the occurrence of the crashes. According to specialized NGOs in Lebanon, road traffic deaths could be increased by 25 % for that reason.
Another major reason for the underreporting is that many crashes involving both Lebanese and Syrian Army vehicles do not enter the TEC statistics. Some estimates indicate that army vehicles are involved in 15–18 % of all traffic crashes. In 2000, the SRF published a report that considered underestimation in the official statistics by 40 % to 45 % of those killed and seriously in road traffic crashes.
The number of Damages only crashes is not reported at all. They could be well over 120,000. Injuries are not separated into serious and slight injuries, which make it harder to analyze the severity of the injuries. It is difficult to do international comparisons due to the underreporting found in the official figures. The report suggests that the RTI problem is serious and similar to that in many developing countries.
prepared by M.Ziad Akl founder of yasa

Lebanon , Traffic Safety

Date: 4/26/2010 12:42:03 PM

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