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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Road deaths drop by 18.4 per cent across the UAE

Police attributed the decrease in deaths from 386 to 315 to continuous efforts to improve road safety.

A 25-car collision on the Al Ain-Abu Dhabi road. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Police
A 25-car collision on the Al Ain-Abu Dhabi road. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Police

Road deaths across the country have dropped by 18.4 per cent in the first six months of this year compared to the same period the year before.

Police attributed the decrease from 386 to 315 deaths to continuous efforts to improve road safety.

Brig Gen Ghaith Al Zaabi, head of traffic co-ordination at the Ministry of Interior, said road upgrades on five of the most dangerous roads in the country helped contribute to the improved figures.

The new traffic regulations that came into effect on July 1 will also play a major role in reducing road deaths, Brig Gen Al Zaabi said.

Accidents caused by sudden swerving dropped from 272 accidents last year to 209 this year; a 23.2 per cent decrease.

There were also 69 less deaths so far this year caused by run-over accidents from 585 incidents in 2017 which Brig Gen Al Zaabi credited to “preventive efforts.”

Quickly changing lanes without indicating was revealed as the most fatal and most dangerous violation, leading to 63 deaths and 406 accidents in the first half of the year. Not leaving enough space between cars was the second-most dangerous, causing 318 crashes and killing 13.

What police described as “not taking consideration of other road users” caused 56 deaths and 317 accidents.

Distraction and negligence caused 239 accidents, while merging without checking if the way is clear led to 144 crashes and 37 deaths.

Speeding killed 37 people this year. Similarly, 30 people were killed by inattentive motorists, and 18 died because of motorists who would not commit to the traffic flow.

Driving in the opposite direction of traffic caused 12 deaths, and 11 people died from accidents caused by motorists driving without a licence. Some 38 people died in road accidents caused by “other reasons”, according to police.

Brig Gen Al Zaabi said road accidents were generally to be expected considering the increase of road users in the country.

Speeding, running red lights and not giving priority to pedestrians caused 465 accidents, he said.

Last week, the Abu Dhabi police chief Maj Gen Mohammed Al Rumaithi promised to introduce stricter penalties for traffic violators.

He said traffic campaigns proved not enough to cut down casualties, and therefore, even further rules will be added.

"As long as it saves lives we will do it," he said last week.

Road deaths in Dubai dropped by 31 per cent this year when compared to the first six months of last year. There were 112 deaths last year, and 77 this year.

Earlier this month Maj Gen Mohammed Saif Al Zafeen, chairman of the Federal Traffic Council and assistant commander-in-chief of Dubai Police, said the drop in road deaths was a result of stricter traffic regulations and increased police patrols.

Sudden swerving was also the main major cause of crashes in the emirate, followed by failure to keep a safe distance between cars and driving under the influence of alcohol.

*This article has been amended to clarify that the figures are UAE-wide.