Monday, March 02, 2009

Kuwait: Cost of life vs. cost of bolts

In Kuwait, it is more about “how much is a pole worth”? The next time you see a lamp post in Kuwait, ask yourself which one is more valuable – the cost of a loved one’s life or the cost of the pole?

Tragically, Kuwait does NOT use break-away poles. Traffic-related fatalities (like the ones in these photos - bottom photo re-printed from today's Arab Times) are increasing as more speeders literally wrap themselves around poles that do not break off. Even in pole vs SUV, the pole wins.

I have been trying to sell someone this idea – someone with contacts in the Ministry of Public Works for example, or whoever else might get the idea across to the Government. It should be an easy sell, right? There are companies that are actively seeking agents. For example, Transpo Industries is seeking world-wide agents. If some guy sells the Government the idea that red and white stickers on the back of commercial vehicles is a great safety idea - then why can't the same guys sell them this idea?
Break away poles are designed to be pushed away by the vehicle upon impact – leaving the pole intact – and hopefully the vehicle. It is much much safer than wrapping a vehicle around a stationary pole.

Kuwait could do a test installation on the Gulf Road and then implement them nationally.
Go ahead - use my BD idea to make money. I would love to see them implemented all over the country and if someone can make a buck in the process - who cares as long as lives are saved?


Anonymous said...

That makes too much sense...

abolesanzalef said...

no way

Mark said...

Posted about these lamps a few years ago after watching an episode of 5th gear where they were showing these collapsible street lamps. They actually demonstrated it on tv by having a guy drive his car into one!

KiwiGal said...

In theory this makes perfect sense. Life is far more important than a pole....yet, do you not wonder how fast these people were really going? Or whether or not they were texting or even talking on their mobiles. Wouldn't these poles just be a band-aid solution to a problem that needs to be addressed at the core?

I have to say, I love your blog!

I lived in Kuwait for the last year, and saw more accidents in 12 months than I have in my entire lifetime....just such a waste..

Desert Girl said...

Mark - I LOVE those shows! I can't believe no one has bought into this idea yet. Which is the appropriate ministry to approach? Is it Public Works?

Kiwi - Driving in Kuwait is cultural and unless the Government takes proactive steps to educate people and ENFORCE THE LAW, then people will continue to drive the way they do.

I don't believe it is a band-aid solution because it saves lives - regardless of how or at what speed people hit the poles.

Further, a lot of these wrecks happen to innocent people who are trying to get out of the way; or are pushed off the road by reckless drivers, so the cause doesn't matter as much as getting out of the crash alive and with limbs.

Thanks for the compliment. :)

4thring said...

actually there are various companies in kuwait that have acquired or are in the process of acquiring licenses for these technologies however due to unfortunate buerrucratic tendencies we still do not see those lamps in our streets...

Anonymous said...


Wondering where you have vanished.
Read your blogpost about National / LIberation day.

Thought provoking.

Speaking too much of truth. Take care girl.

Rider said...

hi :-)
I am sorry but its been a while since I switched to "serves you right" mode. It gives me great pleasure when I see them types of drivers, who never observe me on the road & cut me in, do it to big trucks.
I am much happier seeing that fast car twisted & pinned there by the post than see it continue moving after impact, or move the post, even if by an inch.
All those who don't take others permission to use roads the nasty way they do, deserve to have their cars wrecked beyond repair & as nature dictates every once in a while, their lives or necks too.
The damage extent on these cars is a clear indication of the horrendous speeds those careless so & so's travel at not caring about crippling or killing innocent others.
Last year I did more than 6500km of biking around Oman & back & the fact that the only scary part of my trip stretched between Fahaheel & Jabriya felt very sad :-(
Regards & safe driving :-)

Desert Girl said...

Rider - I forget the phrase - is it "weeding out the gene pool"?

I had the unfortune of seeing 5 children die in front of me after a speeder ran into the back of their vehicle, flipping them over and dragging the car upside-down before it hit a pole. The speeder was fine - got out and smoked a cigarette while people tried to pull the 2 children who were barely alive out of the pieces of what were left of their siblings. Yeah, I would have preferred that the speeder hadn't made it.

Jewaira said...

What a nightmare, DG.

I wish something like this would be implemented. Lives are more important than poles and accidents happen.

eshda3wa said...

it would only be implemented if some big shot decided he wanted to make more money

Anonymous said...

The suggestion that driving in Kuwait is "cultural" is the biggest nonsense ever! How do these people ever pass any driving test??? Are they so important that everyone should move out of their way??? Still when you don't have to worry about debts, are paid money just for working you must start to believe that you are something special and not only the country but the world owes you a living!!!!
I've never, in my 30 years of driving, seen so many accidents and so many near misses ( apparently there are about 1000 near misses to every accident!)
The answer SIMPLE get the Police out there, get cameras and penalise people. Just like the UK - 12 points you loose your license. The sooner it starts here the better. Culture my ****. About time everyone got real!

love your blog - love your suggestions - I'm sure the Amir, the cabinet, the MPs would love to
meet with us and hear some suggestions for all sorts of problems this country is making in what should be a paradise!

Anonymous said...

collapsible street lamps are wrong ... in my opinion ...

Some idiot driving at twice the legal speed and not paying attention to the street would wrap around these lamps ... so if they are not sorry about themselves ... why should anyone else???

Using collapsible street lamps would only put in danger the people driving on the other side of the street.

not to mention that in Kuwait some people would just start putting those light poles down FOR FUN ...

so ... soooory ... this is NOT A GOOD IDEEA FOR KUWAIT ;)

have a nice day!