The speed limit will be reduced to 110kph from 120kph as of October 15
Speed limit reduced on Mohammed bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road in Dubai
Speed limits are being reduced to 110km per hour on two major Dubai roads in a bid to curb accidents and improve safety.
The move to slow down drivers on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road after in-depth traffic surveys will come into force from October 15.
It is the latest road safety initiative deployed by authorities, and follows a public consultation to consider scrapping the existing 20kph buffer afforded to speeding drivers, before risking a fine.
A joint operation between Dubai Police and the Roads and Transport Authority found both highways were carrying large volumes of traffic and have become hotspots for accidents and collisions.
“Lowering the speed limits on the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and Emirates Roads is a result of elaborate traffic safety studies and analyses of traffic accident data along with their causes over the past years,” said Maitha bin Adai, chief executive of the RTA traffic and roads agency.
“It resulted in addressing several traffic safety requirements such as pedestrian bridges, safety rails, and truck lay-by areas; which contributed to realising RTA’s vision.
“The decision is mainly intended to curb traffic accidents resulting from over speeding, especially as the two roads witness huge volumes of heavy vehicles traffic in both directions.”
In the first six months of 2017, six people lost their lives and 78 more were injured in 99 accidents on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road.
The previous year saw 33 deaths and 249 injuries as a result of 196 accidents on the same stretch of road.
Emirates Road has suffered similar rates of serious road traffic accidents. During the first half of 2017, there were 10 road deaths and 75 injuries resulting from 40 accidents. In 2016, Emirates Road was the scene of 86 accidents in total that caused 29 deaths and 147 injuries.
Most motorists welcomed the decision to cut speed limits, but some said it won’t affect accident rates.
“It’s a great decision and should have been implemented years ago,” said Emirati Mohammed Rashid, 41, from Sharjah.
“I’m all for reducing the speed limits to get more control on the road and avoid accidents.”
“We are talking about people’s lives here, so any measures that can be taken to save our lives on the roads is much appreciated and fines should be increased in order to enforce road discipline.”
Another driver also said the measure was unlikely to reduce road deaths.
“I respect their concerns and decisions but I don’t think that changing the speed limits would crop accidents rates,” said Osama Haroun, a Jordanian salesman who uses both roads frequently.
“I spend most of the time behind the wheel and I see many violations, some don’t even care for speed limits and drive above it.
“I think monitoring other acts that lead to accidents is better than changing the speed.”
“Bad driving habits will not change if the speed limits were reduced on the roads, instead it will make us spend more time on the road but the number of accidents will stay the same,” said Briton Samantha Mckee in Dubai.
“I suggest they increase the number of police patrols on the roads and fine road offenders, maybe it will help in reducing tailgating, sudden lane changing and reckless driving.”
Saeed Bin Hamad, a 38-year-old Emirati living in Dubai is concerned the changes will lead to longer time on the road.
“I really don’t think that reducing 10 kph from the current speed limits would cut down accidents,” he said.
“There are many factors that may lead to an accidents and speed limits on a busy highway is not the case, but we can’t do anything about this decision and we hope it will work.”
The current capacity of the two roads is about 12,000 vehicles per hour per direction. Road surveys showed 7009 vehicles travelled on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road in the direction of Abu Dhabi, with trucks accounting for 6 per cent of all traffic.
On Emirates Road, surveyors found 6,442 vehicles moving towards Abu Dhabi.
“Controlling the speed limits is one of the most effective measures of reducing traffic accidents,” said Mr bin Adai.
“The procedure of controlling the speed limits is based on several criteria highlighted by the design speed of the road, and the actual speed observed by the majority of drivers.
“It also rests on the extent of urbanisation on both roadsides, pedestrian traffic, availability of schools, mosques and other vital facilities, and depends on the level of traffic accidents on the road, traffic volume, and the high probability of serial accidents.”
Research into several areas showed some areas were more prone to accidents than others, with corrective measures taken in line with Dubai’s speed management guide.
The RTA said speed limits to be enforced by radar cameras will soon yield a reduction in fatal incidents on both roads.
“This will step up the safety of users of both roads, as speed is a key contributing or associated factor for not less than 60 per cent of traffic road fatalities,” said Maj Gen Advisor Mohammed Saif Al Zaffein, Assistant Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police.
“The move is compatible with the Dubai Police strategy aimed at reducing traffic accidents to zero percent per 100 of the population.”
According to the global competitiveness report issued by Davos Economic Forum, the UAE has achieved a top ranking in its road quality in the past four years.
Independent UK consultants at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), also ranked UAE roads as number one, followed by Singapore and Hong Kong.
Other recent measures to improve road safety include compulsory checks on imported second hand cars.
The Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology has outlawed the import, registration and insurance of vehicles that have been written off in other countries.
And similar pilot project by the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council now rates garages and workshops to help helping improve safety standards.