Young drivers accounted for 63 per cent of traffic accidents in Abu Dhabi in the last nine months
Drivers between 18 and 35 years of age accounted for 63 per cent of all traffic accidents in Abu Dhabi in the past nine months, police said.
“The main causes of those accidents are sudden swerving, failure to leave sufficient space between vehicles, speeding without taking into account road conditions, passing the red light, and recklessness,” said Brig Khamis Ishaq Mohammed, acting director of the traffic and patrols department.
Residents in Abu Dhabi were not surprised by the findings.
“It’s almost impossible to find someone in the UAE who doesn’t know someone who lost their life on the road,” said Emirati Saad Humaid.
“Whenever we hear of someone’s death, it’s always safe to assume that it happened on the road. Those numbers are sad because most of those accidents can be prevented,” the 29-year-old said.
People said more should be done to spread the message to young people about the impact of reckless driving.
“Someone needs to get the message across that you don’t need to abuse the roads and test your car’s speedometer to its limits,” said Rasha Al Meqbali, 33.
“We’ve got good infrastructure and big highways,” she said. “Young people here can also afford fast cars,”
Ms Al Meqbali believed that risky driving attitudes should be viewed as a serious hazard and not a thrill.
Mohamed Al Naqbi, 22, suffered a spinal injury in a head-on collision when he was 18. He has been unable to walk since.
“My life could be a lot different if it wasn’t for my accident. I’m lucky to have survived but the quality of my life has deteriorated. People should think is it really worth it? The speeding for the thrill or to get somewhere. Those bad decisions can alter your life or someone else’s.”
Mr Al Naqbi has turned his life around and does not think of himself as a victim but would like people to learn from his experience.
The traffic and patrols department has launched a number of programmes aimed at promoting a traffic safety among young people, who account for 53.6 per cent of the total number of driving licence holders in Abu Dhabi.
The programme will use social media, lectures at universities and other educational institutions, as well as exhibitions aimed at improving the behaviour of young drivers and urging them to abide by traffic laws.
“Most often speeding, swerving, reckless driving etcetera is a result of over confidence,” said Roshanara Sait, director of Ciel Marketing and Events, which organises road safety awareness campaigns.
“Young people need to be reminded that they are not alone on the roads. Repeated road safety awareness initiatives can help change this attitude.”