x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Point-to-point radar is only way to curb speeding, says UAE expert

Road safety experts advocate point-to-point radar systems over stationary radars, as drivers tend to slow down just before a fixed speed camera to avoid getting caught.

ABU DHABI //Speeding on motorways can only be curbed by the introduction of a point-to-point radar system, a road safety specialist has said.

Drivers often tend to slow down before a stationary speed camera then speed up after passing the unit - which does nothing to prevent crashes.

Point-to-point radar would automatically calculate the average speed of vehicles based on the distance between two points and the vehicle's travel time.

"Police departments should use more advanced automated enforcement since stationary radars are not the latest technology," said Abdullah Zineddin, who has a doctorate in civil engineering, specialising in traffic engineering and safety.

"Erratic manoeuvring should be discouraged, and point-to-point radar could help curb this bad driving behaviour," he said.

The Ministry of Interior has already installed the units for testing, he claims, but the radars have yet to be used for enforcement.

In November last year, Capt Ahmad Al Muhairi, head of traffic safety at Abu Dhabi Police, said point-to-point radar would "soon" be installed on the Abu Dhabi-Ghweifat motorway, considered the emirate's most dangerous.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the Gulf Traffic Exhibition and Conference.

Two years ago, 90 additional radar cameras were installed on the motorway bringing the total number to 130 cameras.

In January this year, 15 extra speed radars were activated in Abu Dhabi. Seven were installed in the Sheikh Zayed Tunnel, while a further seven were fitted in Khaleej Al Arabi and the entry and exit points of Bainunah Tunnel. Another camera is in the Al Raha Beach area.

By the end of this year, the capital will have 500 speed cameras and radar guns, Capt Al Muhairi said.

In Dubai, Traffic Police prevent drivers from slowing down before a radar camera by placing patrols at the roadside.

"Policemen will be stationed to pull over speeding motorists and issue them tickets on the spot," said Maj Gen Mohammed Saif Al Zafeen, the director of the general department for traffic.

The emirate plans to install 176 new speed radars on roads throughout the emirate by next year.

It is part of the emirate's traffic-safety strategy to reduce the number of road fatalities to zero per 100,000 people by 2020, he said.

So far, there are 505 speed radars: 288 fixed, 21 mobile, 14 laser, 156 traffic light and six roadside.

Apart from speeding and then hitting the brakes before a stationary radar, Dr Zineddin said other dangerous driving habits include passing a vehicle on the right, excessive lane changing and rubbernecking (turning round to look at a road accident).

Dr Zineddin said the left lane should be referred to as a passing lane instead of a fast lane. "Drivers should not pass a vehicle on the right," he said.

"I see it a lot and this is a dangerous driving behaviour."

A crash is likely to occur due to improper passing on the right, using an emergency lane to pass or passing on the shoulder, and excessive lane changing.

"It is not as bad in the United States, but it's extremely bad here," Dr Zineddin said.

"When there's a crash, people resort to rubbernecking or moving slowly to see what happened. Drivers should proceed instead of observing an accident that would cause unnecessary congestion on the road."

 

rruiz@thenational.ae