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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

More Dubai roads could see speed limit reduction, police say

Officers say they will assess the success of reductions on the E311 and E611 in three months' time and that one outcome could see the move replicated elsewhere

More speed reductions could be seen on Dubai's roads. Satish Kumar / The National
More speed reductions could be seen on Dubai's roads. Satish Kumar / The National

Speed limits on Dubai roads could be reduced if the reduction on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and Emirates roads proves to be a success, police said.

The limit on the Dubai stretches of the E311 and the E611 were reduced from 120kph to 110kph from midnight on Sunday, though a 20kph buffer is still in operation.

“The speed limit was reduced to cut down the number of accidents and road deaths. Our main aim is to reduce the number of major accidents by more than 20 per cent,” said Brig Saif Al Mazrouei, head of the traffic department at Dubai Police.

“Once we find that the reduction of the speed limit contributed in the reduction of major accidents and road deaths, we will consider reducing the speed on other roads in the emirate.”

He gave the example of a speed limit reduction on the Al Ain road two years ago.

“It contributed to cutting down the number of accidents and fatalities on the road,” said Brig Al Mazrouei.

One hundred people were killed in road incidents in Dubai in the past nine months, with misjudgement by drivers and failing to leave a safe distance between vehicles the leading causes of death. This is down from 148 deaths in the same period the previous year.

Only three hours after the speed limit reduction was put in place, an Egyptian woman sustained severe injuries when she drove her Jeep along the hard shoulder of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road near Mirdif into the back of a stationary lorry. Police said she had been speeding.

Brig Saeed Hamad bin Sulaiman, director of Rashidiya Police Station, agreed that the impact of the limit reductions will need to be studied but it could well lead to reductions elsewhere.

“A number of major road accidents took place on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and Emirates roads, the most serious of which have taken place on Emirates Road, so the move to reduce speed limits aims to curb major accidents,” said Brig bin Sulaiman.

“An examination of reducing speed limits will take place after three months and, accordingly, we will consider reducing speed limits on other roads.”

He added that Dubai Police and the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) are in constant dialogue to find ways to reduce road accidents and deaths.

Read more: 100 die on Dubai's roads in nine months this year

Thomas Edelmann, managing director of RoadSafetyUAE, said that reducing the speed limit is an effective way of reducing crashes.

“Reducing the speed limit will enable drivers to react and behave better on the roads. The only time when slow driving is dangerous is when driving at the wrong speed in the wrong lane,” he said.

“Sudden swerving or abrupt lane changing are the most common cause of road deaths. Speeding and not leaving a safe distance are considered the second and third [biggest] causes of accidents.”

Mr Edelmann added that the speed buffer on roads only leads to confusion among drivers and so they should be removed.

“When the speed limit on a road is 110kph, then it should be only 110kph, or if it is 130kph, then it should be stated that it’s only 130kph,” he said, adding that driver behaviour can slowly be changed through heftier fines, increased police presence and the the use of technology.

“The impact of reducing speed limit is massive, even if the driver’s speed was reduced only by 10kph.”

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