x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Call for trauma centres in rural areas

Emergency services in rural areas have been urged to include specialists in road trauma to reduce highway fatalities.

A damaged car at Muroor Road and 15th Street in Abu Dhabi. Fatalities and severe injuries on the capital's roads have declined this year.
A damaged car at Muroor Road and 15th Street in Abu Dhabi. Fatalities and severe injuries on the capital's roads have declined this year.

ABU DHABI // More specialist trauma centres were yesterday urged for rural areas to reduce highway fatalities. "Because most cases on highways would be related to traffic accidents and almost certainly involves severe injuries because of driving at high speed, we need to open a specialist centre, a small clinic, just for accidents," said a ministry source who did not want to be identified.

He said a recent accident in Al Ghiathi required the victims to be treated immediately. They were transported about 200km by helicopter to the nearest hospital in Abu Dhabi; two of the three people involved in the accident died. Emergency services in rural areas, he said, should include specialists in road trauma. According to statistics released by the Ministry of Interior yesterday, road deaths in the emirate have fallen by more than 20 per cent in the first quarter of this year, compared to 2009. Ninety-three people died this year compared to 118 in the same period last year .

Severe injuries declined by seven per cent, from 132 cases in the first quarter of last year to 123 so far this year. Despite the improved statistics, Col Hussein al Harethi, the head of the traffic section for Abu Dhabi Police, said the police would step up their campaigns against dangerous driving and other violations to further reduce the numbers. "The strategy of traffic police focuses on all the reasons that lead to road accidents, including fines for dangerous driving, not abiding by traffic rules, speeding and tailgating," he said.

Col al Harethi said the main cause of road accidents this year has been sudden swerving, which killed 19 people and caused 28 severe injuries. This is followed by speeding, wrong-way driving and tyre blowouts. Last year, most deaths were caused by head injuries and severe bleeding. "Around 55 to 60 per cent of all ambulance cases are related to people having physical injuries because of road accidents," another ministry source said.

"If people improve their road behaviours, we can reduce the figures dramatically. "People's behaviour on the road is getting better. They drive slower and leave more distance." He said simple compliance with traffic rules such as using indicators before swerving would help reduce fatalities. @Email:hhassan@thenational.ae