x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

RTA reports road safety successes in Dubai

Traffic deaths at dangerous spots around the city has been dramatically reduced after several years of improvements by the Roads and Transport Authority, officials said.

DUBAI // The number of traffic deaths at dangerous spots around the city has been dramatically reduced after several years of improvements by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), officials said. The stretch of Sheikh Zayed Road between Defence and 5th Street, for instance, saw 29 fatalities from 2005, when the RTA took responsibility for it, until August 2007. Then the speed limit was reduced to 100kph from 120kph.

There have been only 10 deaths since, officials said. That roadway was among 33 sites marked as "black spots" for having three or more accidents within a three-year period. "We can generally say that the drop in fatalities ranges from 30 per cent to 70 per cent in immoderate traffic accidents that took place in several black point spots such as Al Hudaiba Road following establishing of a crossing zones, and construction of humps at dangerous crossings of Mirdiff, closing U-turns at Al Amardi Road and other roads," said Hussain al Banna, director of the Traffic Department at the RTA's Traffic and Roads Agency.

The black spots were designated last year as a prelude to improvements that included changing the timing of signals and adding pedestrian crossings. Concrete barriers were added to the middle of certain roads to prevent cars from skidding into oncoming traffic. Officials are now turning their attention to 20 new locations, which will take three to 12 months to finish. "The underlying reasons of accidents are well known, at the top of which come excessive speed, reckless driving, jumping the red signal, lane changing, sudden swerving, negligent and inattentive driving, and other factors triggering traffic accidents causing extensive losses in lives and properties," Mr al Banna added.

Every traffic accident in Dubai is entered into a central database. The RTA analyses the results before marking dangerous junctions and roads, taking into account the severity of the accidents and giving more weight to stretches where two vehicles have directly collided or overturned. Safety engineers then monitor the site before recommending changes. eharnan@thenational.ae