DUBAI // The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has launched a campaign urging motorists to help reduce traffic jams and crashes by moving their vehicles to a safe area when they are involved in minor accidents or breakdowns. Motorists involved in serious accidents are required to stay at the scene, but the RTA says those involved in minor incidents should think about the safety of others and act to help prevent traffic jams and secondary accidents. An awareness campaign launched by the authority, called Mind the Time of Others, will run until mid-January. Maitha bin Adai, the chief executive of the RTA's Traffic and Roads Agency which is heading the campaign, said: "It aims to improve the level of road safety and awareness among motorists and road users with a view to reducing the occurrence of secondary accidents and consequential injuries." Motorists are urged to wait with their car on the hard shoulder or some other safe area until the police arrive. "There is no justification to leave the affected vehicles in the road stream as this will give rise to tailbacks, disrupt or even cripple traffic flow, and may lead to further accidents resulting in bigger human and financial losses," Ms bin Adai said. Many traffic accidents result from motorists being unaware that they are allowed to move to another area when they have been involved in an accident, authorities say. "People think that it is illegal to move the car by even a centimetre until the police come," said Sally Martins, a 35-year-old Dubai resident. "People perpetually stop on the roads and put their flashers on, completely ignoring the people behind them ? Most of the time there's somewhere easy to pull into about five metres away. It's so rude and disrespectful." The RTA hopes its awareness campaign will reach at least 95 per cent of motorists in Dubai. The campaign will be run in Arabic, English, Urdu and Hindi. It aims to reduce traffic jams as a result of minor accidents by 25 per cent, and limit the number of secondary accidents. According to federal laws, it is illegal to disrupt the flow of traffic by allowing vehicles to create an obstruction on the roads. Ms bin Adai said the financial cost of traffic congestion in Dubai, which is around Dh4.6 billion (US$1.25bn) annually, is partly due to about 250,000 vehicles breaking down on the roads every year. There were 260,000 minor accidents on the emirate's roads in 2007. "A vehicle stopped in the road stream blocks lane flow and causes a remarkable increase in secondary accidents; which in turn compromises the credibility of trip time and gives a negative image of traffic in the emirate," she said.
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