x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Traffic firm plans expansion beyond Abu Dhabi

Saaed, the private company that now responds to minor traffic accidents, has plans to expand next year.

ABU DHABI // Saaed, the private company that now responds to minor traffic accidents, plans to expand next year and said other emirates and GCC states have shown interest in its services. "I've been approached already," said Ibrahim Ramel, the president of Saaed, without saying by whom. "We did not go ourselves and submit our services. People heard about it."

To help with its planned expansion, Saaed, which is half-owned by Abu Dhabi Police, on Monday signed a contract with Focus Softnet, a Dubai-based company that will provide software to help better manage its business operations. Lt Col Hussein al Harthi, the head of traffic engineering and road safety for Abu Dhabi Police, signed the contract as chairman of the Saaed board. Saaed traffic investigators have been working in the emirate, starting in Musaffah, since July. They respond to minor accidents in which there are no injuries, and use hand-held electronic devices to prepare reports, including diagrams of crash scenes, to help determine fault.

The information is sent to insurance companies and will be made available to motorists on Saaed's website. Traffic police say Saaed allows them to concentrate on more serious accidents and on patrolling. Nearly 80 per cent of traffic accidents are minor, Mr Ramel said. There were about 95,000 minor accidents in the emirate last year. The company, which was given the power to charge motorists Dh500 if they are found at fault for accidents, began operating on Oct 12. Fines are paid to Abu Dhabi Police in the same way motorists pay for other violations, and Saaed does not receive any part of the fines, Mr Ramel said.

There are no fines in cases where no driver is determined to have been at fault in an accident, such as when a car is struck in a car park while its driver is absent and the other motorist leaves. Of the 5,344 incidents Saeed responded to in its first three months, 130 resulted in motorists disputing its officers' decisions, Mr Ramel said. In case of disputes about who is at fault, police are called in. If disagreements cannot be resolved, motorists may go to court.

During the first three weeks of October, Saaed's 20 patrols handled 2,700 accidents. In September, Saaed investigators responded to 2,486 accidents in an average of 10.5 minutes, and completed reports in an average of 12 minutes. The company plans for 60 more officers working 20 patrols on Abu Dhabi island, where it will begin patrolling by early next year. Patrols in Al Ain also began operating on Oct 12.

Saaed also will work in parts of Al Gharbia. mchung@thenational.ae