ABU DHABI // Pedestrian safety will be a leading priority for police across the country in 2013, the Ministry of Interior announced yesterday.
A third of road deaths in the first 10 months of 2012 were pedestrians.
There were 151 people killed in 954 pedestrian-vehicle incidents across the UAE from January until November, leaving 934 others injured.
According to these numbers, pedestrian crashes make up nearly a fifth, or 18.6 per cent, of traffic accidents in the UAE.
They account for almost a third, or 29.2 per cent, of the overall number of road deaths, according to Brig Gen Ghaith Hassan Al Zaabi, head of the general directorate of traffic coordination at the Ministry of Interior.
"Jaywalking and motorists not giving priority to pedestrians are two very serious traffic offences," he said, noting that more efforts to raise road safety awareness are needed.
The first Ministry of Interior road safety campaign of 2013 will focus on pedestrian safety.
The campaign "Pedestrian Safety is Our Responsibility" has now been launched by the traffic coordination department, in conjunction with traffic and licencing directorates across the UAE and along with more than 20 stakeholders in the private and public sectors.
Running until March 1, the campaign will be carried on various media platforms, including radio, print, television and social networking sites. It will concentrate on all road users, with a particular focus on pedestrians.
The ultimate objective, the ministry said, is to improve road safety, curb pedestrian injuries and boost long-term efforts towards crash-free roads.
Campaigners will work to promote "a culture of respect for the rights of pedestrians", the ministry added, by making both pedestrians and drivers aware of their shared responsibilities on the road.
Failure to stop for pedestrians at a crossing is a lethal violation, said Brig Al Zaabi, and not giving way carries a Dh500 fine and a penalty of six black points. Illegal pedestrian crossings carry a Dh200 penalty.
In the emirate of Abu Dhabi, there were 19 pedestrian deaths in the first quarter of 2012 according to the Health Authority - Abu Dhabi. Of these, 12 were on the island and in the central region, five were in Al Ain and the Eastern Region and two were in the Western Region. These accounted for 23.5 per cent of road deaths.
There were 33 pedestrian deaths in Abu Dhabi city during the first half of 2012, a drop of 20 per cent from the previous year, according to police.
Pedestrian deaths have not dropped as quickly as motorist deaths. Traffic-related deaths in the same period fell by 45 per cent.