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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Heavy fines key to 25 per cent fall in road deaths in 2017

Police hail tougher financial penalties as key to helping reduce reckless driving

In the UAE, the big car is king. Reem Mohammed / The National
In the UAE, the big car is king. Reem Mohammed / The National

Roads in Dubai appear to be getting safer as crash deaths have fallen by 133 for the first nine months of the year compared with 2016 figures.

Dubai Police have released the latest traffic related fatalities for 2017, with 396 deaths reported so far compared with 529 last year.

Officers have attributed the decline in traffic casualties to the new traffic law, with heavier fines crucial in helping reduce the number of fatal accidents.

“Road fatalities showed a 25 per cent drop in the first three quarters of this year, a promising sign that would help police edge closer to their strategic target of zero road deaths by 2020,” said Maj Gen Mohammed Saif Al Zafein, head of the Federal Traffic Council and assistant commander-in-chief of Dubai Police for Operations Affairs.

“We want to reduce road fatalities to less than five per 100, 000 people by the end of this year.”

The rate of road fatalities was 6.13 for each 100,000 people in 2016, compared to 3.46 in the first nine months of this year.

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Maj Gen Al Zafein revealed the Federal Traffic Council is considering implementing a strategic plan involving commissioning a study to identify dangerous roads and the efficiency of roads in each emirate.

“The study will monitor speed limits and their appropriateness to roads and determine the types of vehicles or trucks as well as the need for radars to control speed drivers,” said Maj Gen Al Zafein.

“Tougher fines and harsher penalties have helped make reckless and careless drivers behave.”

Roads are classified into A, B, C, D, E according to their efficiency and as per the international functional classification system.

Those ranked A means that vehicles must be less than 700 per hour per lane, while the rank C means the road can accommodate up to 2000 vehicles per hour per lane.

The study will first be conducted on the Mleiha Road that extends across 54 kilometres in both directions from Sharjah to Fujairah.

Maj Gen Al Zafein said that Emirates Road and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road are the most dangerous in Dubai, according to statistics on road fatalities.

Sudden swerving remains a major cause of road mortalities in the UAE, with drivers facing a fine of Dh1,000.

A new campaign has been launched by police to help raise public awareness about the dangerous manoeuvre,

Police said sudden swerving accounted for 15 per cent of road accidents, and they are also taking further action against glass tinting violations and against drivers with unsecured children on board.