Health Minister Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi
[In this footage, Health Minister Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi talks about how substandard cars and vehicles are one of the main causes of deaths and disabilities in road accidents in Iran.]
Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi: In road accidents, one significant factor is the type of vehicle, in addition to the driving culture and the roads. The vehicles are very important and as you said, our vehicles are not standard. It has been for about 37-38 years that we have wanted to produce the national car. And we have produced it. But people are not happy with it, you are not happy with it, even God is not happy with it. God is not happy if all these people get killed or get disabled because the bodies of these vehicles are not good.
It is either their weight, or they don’t have enough airbags. The roofs are not very safe. 80 to 90 kilometers per hour is the usual speed. But it is not safe with these vehicles. And obviously, no one can survive in an accident with these cars.
It is not just the skull. Other parts of the body will be damaged too. Meanwhile, there are many cars in the world that wouldn’t damage people at the same speed. I personally think that we are doing injustice to people. And we can do much better than this.
If we don’t know how to make cars, then we should not insist on doing it. This doesn’t mean that we don’t believe in ourselves; it means defending citizens’ rights and defending people’s rights. People are paying money, and the expectation is to observe the minimum of international standards.
And if we can’t, then why do we insist on doing it? We pollute the air and create other problems. It isn’t just human casualties. It would be better if someone gets killed in an accident. But it causes disabilities that will remain with people for the rest of their lives.
Each year, about 320,000 people get injured [in road accidents]. 20% of these people will suffer disabilities. It is terrible. By 2021, we will have 30 million vehicles. We haven’t been able to fix the infrastructure, which is very unfortunate. We have 200,000 kilometers of roads in the country. And it has been 30 years that we have heard talks about the accident-prone regions. Each year the budget comes and goes, and these issues increase. If we cannot fix the roads, then we should fix our cars – both heavy and light vehicles.