x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Consultant calls for code to reduce road deaths

A highway code is needed to set clear standards for road users, a transport consultant said yesterday.

Abu Dhabi // A highway code is needed to set clear standards for road users, a transport consultant said yesterday. "You can't start moving forward and say we are going to improve driving standards until we have a standard," said Simon Labbett, regional director for the Transport Research Laboratory, a UK-based consultancy. "That is why I say wherever I've been, you have got to have a highway code. It is a document that is very, very valuable to society and is currently missing."

Mr Labbett was one of four speakers from the consultancy to address police and the public at a workshop on road safety at the International Security National Resilience conference at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. The speakers noted that in the early 1980s in France, the road-death rate was just under 25 deaths per 100,000 people, a figure that has been lowered to just under 10 people per 100,000.

They said the UAE, which recorded a road-death rate of 24 per 100,000 in 2007, could reach a similar target. Besides a highway code, the consultants said, this would require improvements in accident investigations, sharing crash data and co-ordination among the various authorities, such as police, municipalities and health officials. The UAE has a federal traffic law, which was amended in 2008. Motorists know it best for the black-points table, which sets penalties for traffic violations.

However, a highway code that is accessible to the public and outlines the expectations of motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and other sharing the road is missing, Mr Labbett said. A highway code is an essential step in educating road users about what is expected of them and would also aid police and judges, he said. @Email:mchung@thenational.ae