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Fatalities and injuries in Dubai road accidents show no abatement

Dhanusha Gokulan And Amira Agarib
Filed on September 12, 2014
Fatalities and injuries in Dubai road accidents show no abatement

According to authorities, experts, and residents, a change in legislation is not necessarily the solution to this problem.

Fatalities and injuries in Dubai road accidents show no abatement (/assets/oldimages/road_0910.jpg)

The scene of the horrific crash on the busy Emirates Road that left 15 workers dead when the minibus they were travelling in rammed a parked truck in May this year. — Wam file

There has been no letup in road accidents that kill and maim people in the country. The Dubai Police statistics show the death toll in road accidents in the first seven months of this year was 106, with 16 deaths being recorded in July alone and 90 accidents in the first six months.

After the fatal accident on Monday night that claimed the lives of four youngsters, authorities and road safety experts have again stressed that motorists must practise safe driving and develop good road etiquette.

Four students aged between 17 and 19 years were killed in a horrific accident involving three vehicles at Dubai International Academic City. The accident has shocked the emirate’s residents.

Dev Kumar, a Dubai resident, said: “It was a terrible accident. They were very young and imagine the plight of their family; no one deserves this kind of fate. Even after so many accidents and measures taken by the government, people do not have the courtesy to drive safely.”

According to authorities, experts, and residents, a change in legislation is not necessarily the solution to this problem.

Ahmad Hashem Behroozian, CEO of Roads and Transport Authority’s (RTA) Licensing Agency, said: “Even though there has been talk of reducing the age limit and a proposal was made to the Ministry of Interior, no serious decision has been made in this respect. “We could introduce a way to help new drivers get used to the driving conditions in the country, till they are experienced enough to handle the vehicles and their speed.”

Speaking about changing speed limits on highways, Behroozian said that in the scheme of things, reducing speed could be a solution, but only in the long term. “Dubai is a multi-cultural city and there are about 120 nationalities living here. Majority of the licences issued are from other countries and there is no guarantee of their driving experience. Driver behaviour is important and education about traffic safety must be imparted at a very young age.”

Thomas Edelman, founder of RoadSafetyUAE.com said: “Lowering the minimum age for applying for a licence is not necessarily a solution because mobility is a practical necessity. Irrespective of the age of drivers, people must grow into the habit of controlling a car and that only comes with experience. Inexperienced drivers must not be allowed to drive without the presence of an experienced driver. “What I feel is that we lack a basic sense of responsibility towards other motorists.” He said that you can hardly blame the state of roads, the weather, or quality of the cars for fatal accidents in the UAE. “It is our own shortcomings like distracted driving that causes accidents,” he added.

Reasons

In a recent survey of 1,007 UAE drivers, 34 per cent of the respondents said their concentration levels dip while driving. This is particularly true in the cases of young motorists (aged between 18 and 24), of whom 43 per cent feel they are at times inattentive. More than 90 per cent of accidents involved male drivers and 61 per cent were caused by drivers between the age of 26 and 38.

Amir Abdullah, social media manager, Carpool Arabia, said: “People generally believe that it is due to the road infrastructure that accidents take place. Though we firmly believe it relies on the timing of schools and offices. Perhaps, they could implement different schedules for both, could make somewhat of a difference?”

Colonel Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, Director of Dubai Traffic Police, said the department is studying the reasons behind the rising death toll due to accidents. It seeks to bring down the road deaths to zero per 100,000 people annually by 2020. To achieve this goal, the traffic department is intensifying police patrolling on main roads, and highways and also planning awareness campaigns. He said the first seven months of this year saw 1,529 road accidents that injured 575 drivers, 535 passengers, 206 were pedestrians.

According to the latest police statistics, Shaikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road was found to be the most dangerous road that witnessed the maximum number of deaths, followed by Emirates Road. Other dangerous roads included Shaikh Zayed Road and Al Khail Road.

Al Mazroui said the police are intensifying patrolling near the labour accommodations. “We are focussing on certain accident-prone areas like Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, Al Qouz Industrial Area and Al Khail Road.”

In a bid to reduce mortality rate and ensure safety the police have introduced the black points system and installed radars and cameras. — news@khaleejtimes.com


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