Saudi roads official sacked over deadly crash

Investigations find the state of disrepair of the road to be as much a factor for accident as the recklessness of a truck driver

Manama: The investigation into an accident that claimed the lives of six siblings and their mother last month in Saudi Arabia has found that the condition of the road on which the incident occurred was as much to blame as the driver of a truck that smashed into the car in which the family was travelling.

The truck driver was accused of speeding and not driving on the right side of the road, while the transportation ministry came in for flak for not ensuring safe conditions on the road, local news site Sabq reported on Friday, citing sources.

The tragedy occurred on the Sabya road in the country’s southwestern region.

Initial investigations concluded that the accident was triggered mainly by the terrible condition of the asphalt despite the heavy traffic along the route.

Witnesses said that the road was ill-maintained on some stretches given the large numbers of trucks hauling rocks from the nearby mountains.

A few hours after the tragic accident, transport minister Nabeel Al Amudi sacked the head of roads department in Jazan, Mohammad Al Hazmi, and ordered an investigation that brought several other officials and contractors under the scanner.

The transportation ministry also tasked companies to fix the road and repair potholes.

“This should have been done months ago,” one witness told Sabq. “Why should they leap into action only after a tragedy kills a whole family? It is easy to fix roads, but what is also needed is to fix the situation of the poor father who lost six children in a tragic accident that could have been avoided.”

Some residents in the area reported that they had contacted the head of the roads department in Jazan two months earlier to inform him about the dire condition of the road and the need for urgent repairs.

“He promised to fix them, but nothing was done,” one local resident said.

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