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Police tackle worst month for road fatalities

Records show October is the deadliest month on the roads, but Dubai Police Traffic Department says it is determined to cut down on the fatalities this year.

Dubai// Records show October is the deadliest month on the roads, but Dubai Police Traffic Department is determined to cut down on the fatalities this year. In October last year, there were 283 accidents that resulted in 32 deaths and 239 injuries. In the same month in 2008, there were 26 fatalities and 269 injuries. Last October's death toll was almost double the average 17.7 people killed per month during the first nine months of 2009 when a total of 160 people died.

Analysts at the department believe an increase in traffic following the end of summer holidays and the start of the new school year is to blame for the rise in accidents at this time of the year. In a bid to avoid a repetition of those numbers, Major General Saif al Zafein, the head of the Traffic Department, said a plan has been put in place to better control the roads and closely monitor for traffic offences across the city.

The department will concentrate on four areas: cyclists, pedestrians, medium-sized buses and reckless drivers. Cycles being used on motorways will be confiscated. Cyclists are considered an obstruction to traffic, and they will be fined accordingly, said police. "We categorise [these] as pedestrians, and, therefore, they are banned from being around other vehicles on highways," Maj Gen al Zafein said.

To avoid incidents of pedestrians been knocked over, particularly on highways, police will intensify their safe-crossing campaign. The department will pay particular attention to areas where jaywalking accidents are frequent. So far this year, more than 22,000 people have been caught crossing in prohibited areas in Dubai. The third element in the intensified monitoring plan will concentrate on medium-sized buses and minibuses, where offences such as the overloading of vehicles and reckless driving will be closely monitored. "We will confiscate any bus which carries out such violations," Maj Gen al Zafein said.

The department will also pursue anyone who drives recklessly on Dubai roads. "Reckless driving is a major cause of serious road accidents, therefore we will be closely following such violations," Maj Gen al Zafein said. wissa@thenational.ae

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