x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Three killed in crashes involving stray animals

Nineteen such crashes reported on Emirates Road last year, Sharjah Police say.

SHARJAH // Three people were killed in crashes caused by stray animals wandering into traffic on Emirates Road last year, Sharjah Police say.

Nineteen such crashes were reported on the busy motorway, with 17 occurring in the emirate's central region and twoin Sharjah city, said Ahmed bin Darwish, the director of the Sharjah patrol unit Anjad.

The animals involved included camels, goats and sheep. Stray dogs and cats were also blamed for causing crashes as drivers swerved to avoid them.

"In most of these accidents the driver of the vehicle was also speeding," Mr bin Darwish said. "He failed to control his car after seeing an animal in the middle of the road.

"In every report we wrote on these accidents we suggested to the municipality and department of public works to have these roads fenced so that animals cannot just cross."

This month, an Emirati man driving from Kalba to Sharjah City died when his car caught fire after hitting a camel on Maleha Road.

After the crash, Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed, Ruler of Sharjah, ordered the department of public works and municipality to put up fences in areas where camels are known to cross, such as Rahmania and Umm Faneen.

When camels are involved, a legal case is opened against the owner for neglecting the animal and endangering the lives of road users, said Mr bin Darwish.

He said drivers were obliged to slow down when they saw signposts warning them that animals lived in the area.

Salem Al Harith, who lives in Al Dhaid, said hardly a week went by without a crash involving stray animals.

"The Government can help by building a fence or having all these roads monitored by a patrol that would stop animals crossing," Mr Al Harith said. "Most of these accidents happen in the morning so the patrols would only need to be on the road during this time."

Last year a stray camel caused a crash in which 15 bus passengers and their driver were injured on Sheikh Zayed Road in Umm Al Quwain. The camel died.

Al Ittihad Road heading towards Ras Al Khaimah is one of the most dangerous in UAQ, with drivers regularly having to avoid animals crossing or wandering close to the road.

Last year police recorded 90 crashesinvolving stray animals, said Lt Col Khamis Buharoon, the UAQ Police director of operations.

ykakande@thenational.ae

Historical perspective on animals on the road in Review, page r23