x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Saving lives also saves Dh520m, Abu Dhabi Road Safety Forum told

The decrease in crashes in Abu Dhabi has been so dramatic, the Department of Transport has had to revise their casualty reduction targets for 2021. 

ABU DHABI // The steady reduction in casualties on Abu Dhabi's roads since 2010 has saved the emirate Dh520 million, figures presented at the forum show.

The decrease in deaths was so dramatic that the Department of Transport had to revise its casualty reduction targets for 2021.

"In 2009, our fatality rate was 22.7 per 100,000 and our initial target was 16.7 fatalities per 100,000 population for 2021 but we had already exceeded our target," said Bader Al Qamzi, the director of the integrated planning at the department.

Last year, the number of road fatalities for every 100,000 people decreased to 11.5 per 100,000.

"We have now set a new target of 9 per 100,000 by 2021," Mr Al Qamzi said.

He said the number of road fatalities in the emirate dropped to 263 last year from 409 in 2009.

The Abu Dhabi safety and traffic solutions committee was created by the Executive Affairs Authority in January 2009 to deal with all aspects of road safety and commuting, and included representatives from the departments of transport and municipal affairs, police and the Urban Planning Council.

"Our vision is to enable Abu Dhabi to become one of the safest societies in the world and a regional leader in the field of road safety," Mr Al Qamzi said.

"Our commitment is to save 300 lives and avoid 3,000 casualties in the first five years."

To achieve this, the committee has been developing a code, launching publicity campaigns, encouraging lifelong driver education and coordinating publicity for their enforcement campaigns.

"To achieve safe roads, there should be engineering inspections of fatal crashes, reviews and updates on road design and safety standards, a speed-management strategy, road-safety audits and road-safety engineering improvements," said Mr Al Qamzi.

To ensure the vehicles on the road are safer, he added, the committee was looking into introducing rear seat belts and child-safety legislation, reviewing and updating the requirements for vehicle standards, ordering more rigorous and effective vehicle inspection and testing, and stricter commercial vehicle operator controls.

"We need to keep working together as a team," Mr Al Qamzi said. "Our next step is to seek to improve data and develop alternative sources."

rruiz@thenational.ae