DUBAI // More than 170 traffic cameras that catch drivers jumping red lights are to become speed cameras too.
The move will identify drivers who accelerate through junctions to beat the lights as they change to red, said Maj Gen Mohammad Saif al Zafeen, the director of the Dubai police traffic department.
"If a motorist crosses the junction when it is green and he is speeding, we do not catch him," he said. "It is important to deal with this because there are many who speed up when the light is flashing because they don't want to wait at the red light."
Re-calibration of the cameras will begin in the new year, Maj Gen al Zafeen said. Until now police had been concerned that a sudden camera-flash could distract drivers and risk accidents, but transport experts believe the risk is minimal.
"Many studies have shown that speed cameras at traffic lights reduce crashes," said Simon Labbett, the regional director of the Transport Research Laboratory, which has an office in Abu Dhabi. "This is a positive step because you can get the double benefit from a camera at a junction."
Police have ruled out speed cameras on roads with lower speed limits, although a Dubai road safety study has suggested this is where accidents involving pedestrians are most common.
Maj Gen al Zafeen said: "When people complain of speeding on neighbourhood roads we can bring our portable radars. On a 40kph road we give 20kph grace, so if he goes over 60kph we will catch him."