x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Police to add cameras

Police plan to increase the number of junctions covered by cameras in an attempt to reduce accidents caused by drivers running red lights.

Police want all of Abu Dhabi island's 115 light-controlled junctions to be covered by cameras.
Police want all of Abu Dhabi island's 115 light-controlled junctions to be covered by cameras.

ABU DHABI // Police in the capital and Dubai plan to increase the number of junctions covered by cameras in an attempt to reduce accidents caused by drivers running red lights. Abu Dhabi Police want all 115-light-controlled junctions on the island to be fitted with cameras, which currently operate on about 80 junctions.In addition, junctions where cameras cover traffic travelling in only two directions will see increased coverage.

Meanwhile Dubai Police's traffic department described fitting more cameras at junctions as "one of the department's top priorities". Police in Abu Dhabi yesterday invited companies to submit proposals by June 8 to develop and implement a "red light violation monitoring and management system". The winning firm will work with police to evaluate and expand the existing system. "Accidents that are caused by crossing the red light are the most dangerous accidents and cause most severe results," said Lt Col Hussein al Harthei, head of Abu Dhabi Police's traffic engineering and road safety department.

In Dubai, "the number of red-light violations have been on the rise, and that could be due to not having enough radars at traffic signals," said Col Saif Muhair al Mazrouei, deputy director of the general department of traffic at Dubai Police. "One of the department's top priorities this year is to install more radars at the traffic lights in the most dangerous junctions in Dubai to help reduce this dangerous violation."

Police say they have installed cameras at most junctions on Al Wasl and Jumeirah roads, but more are planned for intersections elsewhere, including the junction of Al Doha and Damascus roads in Al Qusais, the Al Maqtab and Al Mankhool intersection and new junctions in the Burjuman area. The cameras at the Jumeirah and Al Wasl intersections have been "very successful in reducing the occurrences of jumping a red light, and helped in controlling and limiting this violation", said Col al Mazrouei.

"In cases where a driver tries to stop but was unable to do so or did stop and then reversed and was still caught by the radar, a committee will review his case and study video evidence taken from the radar and determine whether the driver was at fault. "If the committee decided that the driver did all they could to stop, then the fine would be removed." According to national figures from the Ministry of Interior's traffic department, in the first four months of the year, 8,423 people were caught driving through a red light.

In the same period, offenders caused 166 accidents that killed 285 people. In the whole of last year, there were 20,779 violations, 535 accidents and 903 deaths and injuries across the UAE. Abu Dhabi Police could not provide precise figures for the number of violations so far this year, but Lt Col al Harthei said up to 50 motorists a month were caught running red lights. Dubai Police said that in the first four months of the year, 172 motorists were caught running red lights, causing seven deaths and 99 injuries. In 2008, when running red lights caused 241 injuries and two deaths, cameras caught 485 drivers.

Dubai Police said that during the first quarter of the year, 279 drivers were caught driving drunk, killing four people and injuring 38. Last year, 18 people were killed in drunk-driving accidents in the city, while 921 drivers were caught driving under the influence. hdajani@thenational.ae mchung@thenational.ae rabubaker@thenational.ae