ABU DHABI // Deaths and injuries on the roads fell by 16 per cent over the past six months compared with the same period last year, police said yesterday. At the same time, a campaign against reckless driving has led to more than 500 drivers being sentenced to community service. Col Adil Hamad al Shamsi, the director of traffic police, said there had been 358 deaths and injuries in the past six months, compared with 427 cases last year.
Progress had been made, he said, particularly in some cities. In the capital, the number of serious and fatal accidents had fallen from 221 to 198 and in Al Ain from 138 to 107. A police offensive against reckless driving had netted a number of offenders, said Col Shamsi; 541 drivers had been jailed for a week, had their cars confiscated for a month and were ordered to spend two days cleaning streets and schools.
"These indicators are good indicators," said Col Shamsi. Car accidents remain a leading cause of death in the country, second only to heart disease. According to a report from the Department of Planning and Economy, one person dies every eight hours on the nation's roads. In March, the country saw its worst accident with a 200-car crash on the motorway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi that claimed four lives.
Col Shamsi said police were trying to improve traffic control, with more patrols and officers keeping watch on the roads. Reckless drivers had been caught, he said, across the Emirate: 403 in Al Ain, 163 in Abu Dhabi, 43 in Al Gharbia and 31 in Mafraq. However, he said, the best solution was to have drivers who heeded driving laws and paid attention on the roads. Col Shamsi also appealed to parents to make sure young drivers learnt to drive properly. With the summer holidays under way, there had already been cases of young drivers driving dangerously and racing, he said. He said parents should ask themselves whether their children were sufficiently responsible to drive before handing over the car keys to them.