Dubai's quest to cut car accident deaths

DUBAI — Dubai is aiming to reduce its current rate of 19 deaths per 100,000 people due to car accidents to 5 or 6 deaths, Lieutenant-General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Commander-in- Chief of Dubai Police, has said.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sun 12 Mar 2006, 10:17 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:28 PM

The Dubai Police Chief made this remark yesterday at the inauguration of SAFEX 2006, the World Driving Training Conference, at the Dubai Police Officers' Club. The conference focuses on key issues regarding safe driving and driver training.

Brigadier Mohammed Saif Al Zafeen, Director of General Traffic Department, Dubai Police and senior officials from the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), were also present along with other dignitaries.

SAFEX 2006 is hosted for the first time in the Middle East and is organised jointly by the International Association for Driver Education (IVV) and Belhasa Driving Centre (BDC).

Speaking at the opening, Dhahi Khalfan Tamim stated: “Rapid economic development in the past decade has made Dubai a bustling and teeming metropolis, that attracts thousands of people from all over the world to its excellent infrastructure and business and employment opportunities. This has led to an explosive rise in the number of vehicles on the road and a resultant increase in traffic congestion, making this an issue of great concern for us.''

He noted that in the past, the number of deaths from road accidents was 38 deaths for every 100,000 people. “Today, I am proud to say that this figure has come down to 19 deaths, but we still have a long way to go before we achieve the rate of 5 or 6 deaths per 100,000 people witnessed in Scandinavian countries,” he said.

“Dubai's multi-cultural appeal brings in people from many countries, and each of them bring their own perceptions of driving to the city’s roads. SAFEX 2006 comes to Dubai at a time, when the city needs to formulate standard driving practices that will ensure orderly flow of traffic, minimise loss of life and damage to property. I hope the interaction between world experts and local institutions will contribute to improving driver training and road safety in the country, and I look forward towards working closely with all parties concerned to bring down the fatality rate from road accidents in the UAE,” he added.

SAFEX is organised every two years and comes to Dubai at a time when the city in particular and the UAE in general, is grappling with a dramatic increase in road accidents, giving the country one of the highest road accident rates in the world.

The conference covers various aspects of driving and road safety, such as driver education, common driver training standards, dangers of aggressive driving and the risks posed by alcohol and drug abuse for drivers. The conference will also look to raise the profile of environment-friendly and green driving techniques to encourage energy conservation.

“In many ways, Dubai is the ideal venue for a driver training conference like SAFEX, as the growing accidents and fatality rates in the emirate have become a major cause for concern. Most of these accidents could be avoided if drivers exercised a bit of caution. This highlights the need for proper driver education,” said Saif Ahmed Belhasa, Chairman and Managing Director, Belhasa Driving Centre.

“SAFEX will go a long way in presenting more innovative and effective techniques for driver training, and Belhasa Driving Centre is proud to organise this edition of the conference. We are fortunate to have such an impressive line-up of speakers at SAFEX 2006, who will deliberate on all aspects of driving and road safety,” Belhasa added.

Graham Fryer, President of IVV, said, “It is a known fact that driver error or negligence accounts for 90 per cent of all accidents, yet the issue of driver education remains largely overlooked. Through SAFEX 2006, we seek to change this scenario by pressing home the importance of driver education.''

The event will help formulate innovative techniques that facilitate better driver training, and also enable the authorities concerned to evolve strategies that effectively carry the message of safe driving to the motorists, he said. At the conference, IVV will highlight, among other issues, the need for standardised road safety regulations and testing procedures.

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