Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
The Abu Dhabi police clean up the scene of an accident involving multiple cars.
Ryan Carter Staff
The Abu Dhabi police clean up the scene of an accident involving multiple cars.

Capital ponders road safety council

Speeding, aggressive and underage driving, and the use of seat belts would be addressed by a proposed Abu Dhabi Road Safety Council.

DUBAI // Speeding, aggressive and underage driving, and the use of seat belts would be among the issues addressed by a proposed Abu Dhabi Road Safety Council, transport officials said yesterday. Abu Dhabi has one of the highest road-fatality rates in the world, according to figures compiled by the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi.

In June, Dr Ahmed al Mazrouei, the chairman of the HAAD, cited a figure of 27.4 deaths per 100,000 people in the emirate, declaring it an unacceptable rate. On average, 38 people die on Abu Dhabi's roads each month, according to Department of Transport statistics. The proposed Abu Dhabi Road Safety Council would be chaired by senior members of government bodies such as the police and DoT. Dr Abdulilah Zineddin, a highway safety specialist with the DoT, said the plan was still a proposal but could be finalised before the end of the year. He was speaking on the first day of the Gulf Traffic 2009 Conference, in Dubai, which focused on road safety.

The Abu Dhabi road fatality rate of 27.4 per 100,000 compares unfavourably with 11.0 deaths per 100,000 in the EU and a global mean of 21 per 100,000, according to the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention, a 2004 World Health Organisation study based on data from 2000. The proposed Abu Dhabi Road Safety Council would set the agenda for campaigns and legislation aimed at reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads.

If the council is formed, it is expected to meet every two to three months. The DoT has begun carrying out road-safety audits, dispatching teams to find risks both on existing roads and those under construction. So far, 1,000 risks have been identified, including dangerous bends and blind spots. These are being addressed, according to the DoT. Dr Zineddin said a database containing figures on types of accidents was being compiled for further analysis.

He said speed limits were being reassessed according to the "crash history" of the road, the average speed of vehicles travelling on it and the limits for which the road was designed. The DoT wants to develop an awareness campaign with the emphasis on speeding, child restraints, seat belts and adjusting to weather conditions. The campaign would also target aggressive driving, underage drivers and pedestrian safety.

A Road Safety Strategy is being developed by the DoT with the aim of providing a regional framework. The strategy will be partly based on data being collected on road crashes, injuries, insurance and accident costs. It would contain safety targets as well as the budget required to meet them. According to a study of local driving behaviour carried out by Prof Abdulbari Bener, an adviser to the WHO and a senior epidemiology consultant, the UAE has some of the worst driving habits in the world.

"Breaking the red lights, getting involved in unofficial races at lights, beeping your horn in anger are all higher in the UAE than elsewhere," said Prof Bener. Other failings of UAE drivers include missing give-way signs and using the wrong lane when approaching a roundabout. Today, the second part of the conference will focus primarily on rail. Governments in the Middle East will invest more than $147 billion (Dh540bn) to address the region's transportation needs, according to the event's organisers.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Ali Benflis, opposition leader and main rival to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika speaks to the press after casting his vote in the presidential elections at a polling station in Algiers on. Former prime minister Benflis ran against Bouteflika in 2004 but lost heavily, charging the vote was rigged 10 years ago and has said fraud will be his ‘main adversary’ during the election. Patrick Baz / AFP Photo

Best photography from around the world, April 17

The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Rolling out the structure for the set. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

Star Wars: Episode VII evidence in Abu Dhabi desert

After more than a week of speculation, The National has what are believed to be the first photos of a Star Wars shoot in the Abu Dhabi desert.

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National