Iran Roads in Critical Conditions

NCRI - An intercity bus carrying schoolgirls was overturned in Iran’s southern province of Fars on Friday, September 1, following which the state media reported on dozens of schoolgirls being killed or wounded.

“The number of casualties of the bus crash reaches 16”, said Iran’s head of Emergency’s Operations Department, adding “there are also 13 schoolgirls in critical conditions, so it’s possible that the death toll rises. 33 schoolgirls were wounded in the accident.” The schoolgirls were to participate in a conference of talented students in Shiraz, reported the Associated Press news agency, adding “with nearly 17000 annual deaths due to road accidents, Iran has one of the world’s worst traffic safety records. Many Iranians lose their lives each year due to road and traffic-related accidents, so that traffic accidents are one of the main causes of death in Iran.”

In addition to road fatalities, traffic injuries could also bring about heavy social, cultural, and economic damages.

“Road traffic accidents are the third cause of death in the country so that one Iranian dies every 33 minutes due to such accidents”, says Iraj Harirchi, regime’s Deputy Healthcare Minister.

Acknowledging Iran’s poor ranking with regard to traffic safety records, Harirchi added “the number of wounded in the country’s road accidents is 20 times higher than the number of deaths.”

According to state media, Iran is ranked eight regarding the traffic-related casualties, with only six African countries and one Asian one being in worse conditions.

“You’ll find few Iranians who have not lost a first or second degree relative in road accidents”, writes state-run Shahrvand news paper on April 13, 2015.

According to state-run Alef website, Iran’s poor traffic safety record has caused the World Bank to refer in its review to Iran’s road traffic accidents, describing it as critical. (State-run Alef website, July 6, 2015)

Unsafe roads and low quality vehicles are the main reasons behind Iran’s increased road accident fatalities.

Pointing to Iran’s lack of road maintenance and investment on improving road safety, Rouhani’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development ‘Abbas Akhundi’ says “very little investment has been made over the past ten years over road maintenance. That’s why more than 40 percent of the country’s roads are in poor conditions, while billions of dollars is needed to resurface all asphalt roads.”

With necessary measures disregarded during road construction, many of the country’s roads are non-standard, lacking enough capacity to meet high traffic density.

With the country’s major road construction companies belonging to regime officials, the only thing they care about is plundering national wealth and making more profits, while road quality is none of their concerns. So, many of the country’s roads are so poorly built that they totally wear out within two years after construction, thereby leading to road accidents.

Meanwhile, the country’s rural roads have much more problems compared to urban ones. Most rural side roads need leveling and sanding while the main rural roads need to be repaired and asphalted.
The conditions of rural roads in many parts of the country are so poor that it would be impossible to access them in such adverse weather conditions like heavy rain, storm, strong wind, or fog. As a result, these areas are disconnected in different seasons from main roads and big cities, leaving drivers passing through them totally stranded.

In the northern province of Gilan, for instance, with higher living standards compared to other provinces, the conditions of rural roads are so bad that regime’s chief of police in Gilan is forced to acknowledge that “non-standard roads is one of the problems in province’s rural areas.” (State-run IRNA news agency, July 16, 2017)

A big problem on roads is lack of adequate lighting. In addition to that, shortage or lack of road signs and non-luminosity of many of them, non-existing or faulty guardrails, using guardrails that lack absorption and deflection capability, lack of equipment that separates opposing flows of traffic, damaged asphalts, and flooded routes, are also among the problems that have made country’s roads unsafe. Nonetheless, the regime has done nothing regarding constructing new roads or improving the old ones, widening narrow roads, or installing proper signs on country’s roads and routes.