Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 6 August 2020

Motorists call for rush hour ban on heavy goods vehicles in UAE

Tankers and delivery lorries should not share busy highways with cars, say commuters

A minibus driver was killed and his passenger sustained serious injuries after a lorry fell on top of the vehicle in Umm Al Quwain on Sunday. Courtesy Umm Al Quwain Media Office
A minibus driver was killed and his passenger sustained serious injuries after a lorry fell on top of the vehicle in Umm Al Quwain on Sunday. Courtesy Umm Al Quwain Media Office

Tankers and lorries should be banned from rush hour routes to cut road deaths, drivers and safety experts said.

The call came after a minibus driver died instantly when a lorry flipped over and crushed his vehicle in Umm Al Quwain this week.

A passenger remains in hospital with severe injuries. Police are investigating the crash.

It’s a huge problem that’s already been the cause of countless deaths

Saleh Jafar, Gulf for Yasa road safety group

Despite safety campaigns and a nationwide reduction in road deaths, 85 people were killed in crashes involving heavy vehicles in Abu Dhabi last year.

In Dubai, 11 died and 57 were injured in the same period, though that was down from 15 dead and 80 hurt in 2018.

“It’s a huge problem that’s already been the cause of countless deaths,” said Saleh Jafar, president of the Gulf for Yasa road safety group.

“Even banning them in the daytime might not go far enough, but it would be a start.

“Lorries are on roads that aren’t suited for them day and night."

Several of the emirates operate rush hour bans during Ramadan and Abu Dhabi restricts lorries on its main roads between 6.30am and 9am and 3pm and 6pm.

In Dubai, lorries are banned from Sheikh Zayed Road and parts of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road.

Three years ago the Federal Traffic Council, which is comprised of the country's police chiefs and transport officials, made Emirates Road made the main route for HGVs.

But other regulations vary nationwide and accidents remain common.

Mr Jafar urged the authorities to crack down on tired and overworked drivers from using roads that are unsuitable for heavy vehicles.

“Drivers are under pressure to make as many deliveries as possible and are reliant on tips and commission which means they cut corners,” he said.

Motorists said HGVs and convoys carrying building materials should be restricted to ring roads and nighttime deliveries.

“I see them all the time on Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road and it’s terrifying. They should stick to Emirates Road,” said Nithin Mather, 32, who works for a lorry manufacturer.

“Once my wife and I were driving when a stone flew off the back of the lorry and smashed our windscreen.

“That road is already so busy with cars, lorries shouldn’t be allowed on it. It’s a recipe for disaster."

Mr Mather said lorries should not be allowed to stop on the side of busy motorways, which is a common sight.

Another commuter said near-misses are frequent on Al Qudra Road, which connects central Dubai to several of the large desert suburb communities.

“It’s very dangerous for drivers, especially when there’s a line of 10 lorries behind each other blocking off the far right lanes", said Irene Santine, 38, a marketing worker from Honduras.

"Drivers often have to take risks to make an exit.

“I’ve seen lorry drivers keep going through busy roundabouts without even slowing down and they often don’t indicate while changing lanes.”

Updated: February 13, 2020 12:32 PM

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