x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Jaywalkers targeted in safety campaign

Major areas of concern are labour camps near busy roads, such as Emirates Road and the Dubai Bypass Road.

Jaywalkers on Emirates Road near Dubai Sports City.
Jaywalkers on Emirates Road near Dubai Sports City.

DUBAI // A safety campaign cracking down on jaywalking by labourers has been launched by police.

The "Cross Safely" initiative will distribute 10,000 reflective vests to workers across the emirate. Lectures will be held and handbooks about safe crossing given out.

"Our goal is clear," said Maj Gen Mohammed Al Zaffien, director of the Dubai Traffic Police. "We are losing too many lives on the roads and many of them are pedestrians. We can save these lives."

Last year, about 30 per cent of all traffic deaths were pedestrians.

"There were 41 pedestrian deaths in 2011, and 40 in 2010," said Maj Gen Al Zaffien. "Our statistics show that most of the pedestrian deaths were among workers."

He did not give exact figures about the number of workers' deaths.

Maj Gen Al Zaffien said major areas of concern were labour camps near busy roads, such as Emirates Road and the Dubai Bypass Road.

"They expect that drivers will see them when they are crossing, therefore the message we are conveying is, protect yourselves, wear the vests so you can be visible and abide by the guidelines,"  said Maj Gen Al Zaffien.

Employers echoed police concerns about pedestrian deaths among workers.

"Last year, Dubai Police helped educate between 4,000 and 5,000 workers in our company," said a representative of ETA Ascon, a contracting firm in Dubai. "We had an average of two jaywalking fines a day issued against employees, but after last year's campaign this was reduced to an average of one fine every three months."

Mohammed Abu Al Fotooh, a representative of the construction company Al Habtoor Leighton, said a lack of lighting and pedestrian crossings plagued the areas surrounding the firm's labour camps.

"Despite the campaigns and lectures, we do not have any lighting or proper pedestrian crossings in Sonapur, where most of our labourers are housed," he said.

Maj Gen Al Zaffien agreed that crossings without signals posed a danger to lives.

He called on all companies with three or more employees involved in a pedestrian accident to contact his office immediately to implement direct action to protect them.

amustafa@thenational.ae

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