Twenty people were killed and three injured after a collision between a bus and a truck in the Assiut governorate, according to a statement by the Ministry of Health and Population.
Both vehicles reportedly caught fire in the incident, which occured on the Eastern Desert Road, after the bus attempted to overtake the truck.
The Ministry reported that 36 ambulances were dispatched to the scene and the casualties and injured were transported to the al-Eman General Hospital and Assiut General Hospital. The statement claimed that hospitals remain at the highest level of preparedness and assures that victims will receive the necessary medical care.
Road fatalities in Egypt are common and are a daily occurrence. While the total number of road accidents has been declining since 2010, where it reached an all-time high of 24,400 accidents, fatalities remain high and critics say not enough is being done to ensure road safety and compliance with road rules.
According to statistics by the country’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), there was a recorded 8,480 road accidents compared to 11,098 in 2017.
However, the total number of those killed or injured per accident increased to approximately 1.8 per accident in 2018, compared to 1.6 in 2017 and 2016. In total, 3,087 lives were lost on Egypt’s road in 2018. More than 11,000 others were left with injuries ranging from minor injuries to severe, life-changing injuries.
CAPMAS’ reports reveal that the number one cause of accidents in Egypt is ‘human error’, accounting for 76.8 percent of road accidents. Technical malfunctions accounted for 15.7 percent of accidents, while infrastructure concerns and road maintenance accounted for 2.7 percent.
The report also revealed that road accidents are the primary causes of death among Egypt’s population under the age of 25. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding, tail-gating, lack of seat-belts, use of mobile phones, driving on the wrong side of the road, and sleep deprivation are all common causes of road accidents in Egypt.
Tour companies have also been criticized in the past for not regulating their drivers’ behaviors to ensure compliance with speed limits. In the past, various accidents involving tour buses have been blamed on speeding.
While there may be some traffic police at certain points, speed signs are generally rarely observed on Egypt’s highways and traffic police often operate at checkpoints as opposed to driving around to stop offenders.
Additionally, while the Egyptian Ministry of Interior often conducts traffic operations to arrest those driving under the influence of drugs, critics say these are rare and that traffic police need to be operating to crackdown on drug-use, along with other traffic violations, on an everyday, regular and effective basis.
Various social media campaigns have also been launched in the past decade urging Egyptian drivers to obey traffic rules. However, these campaigns are often not enough to ensure systemic change, are short-lived, and do not target all segments of Egyptian population.