x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

More than 38 million traffic offences recorded on UAE’s roads in six years

Major Rashid Al Fardan, head of Traffic Survey Section at Sharjah Police Traffic and Patrols Directorate, says the study links aggressive driving as a leading cause of accidents.

Almost 39 million offences were committed on the UAE’s roads in the six years between 2007 and 2012, a new study has revealed.

And Maj Rashid Al Fardan, head of traffic survey at Sharjah Police, said the study showed aggressive behaviour – such as tailgating, speeding and reckless driving – was a leading cause of accidents.

There were 38.6 million offences in the six-year period, during which the rate of accidents increased, with the exception of 2007 to 2008.

The study, compiled by the Sharjah Police traffic directorate, attributed the increase in recorded offences to the growing number of vehicles on the road each year, failure to abide by the traffic rules and greater traffic monitoring.

In Sharjah alone, aggressive driving led to 68.8 per cent of the 5,583 traffic accidents between 2007 and 2012.

The causes included failure to stick to lanes, lack of respect for other road users, tailgating, jumping red lights, entering a road without ensuring it was safe, speeding and recklessness.

The worst daily eight-hour period for accidents in the emirate was between 10pm and 6am, followed 2pm to 10pm.

“Road safety is a very relevant topic here in the UAE and we hear about it every day,” said Thomas Edelmann, founder of the website Road Safety UAE. “Everyone has their own stories from the roads here.

“There is one topic that is at the forefront of improving the situation and that is road etiquette and politeness. We believe that the one basic rule is that you must treat others the way you want to be treated.”

Although there is no clear definition of “aggressive driving”, the study found it can be caused by environmental factors as well as the personal and psychological traits of a driver.

“We must think about driving with each other and not against each other, then a lot of these types of incidents on our roads will disappear,” Mr Edelmann said.

“I am a firm believer in education. We have to start in schools and instil road etiquette and understanding from a young age, so when they become the next generation of drivers they know what should be done.”

A study released last year showed there were 2.3 million offences on Dubai roads in 2012.

That compared with 9.6 million fines handed out for that year in The Netherlands, which has a population more than eight times that of Dubai.

In the UAE, aggressive driving was more common on motorways and roads with no radars, roads with traffic jams and those with fewer speed humps, the study found.

Vicent Mutebi, a resident of Sharjah, said more needed to be done to improve driving standards in the emirate and across the UAE.

“More awareness campaigns are needed to tackle bad driving habits, especially among the youths, and stricter rules like that of permanently confiscating noisy vehicles and many other bad road practices,” Mr Mutebi said.