Accidents on UAE roads rose in 2023

While the number of deaths also rose, the figure is almost at an all-time low

There were 4,391 road accidents in the UAE in 2023, up from 3,945 in 2022. EPA
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The number of road accidents in the UAE rose by 11 per cent last year, compared to 2022.

Statistics from the Ministry of Interior reveal there were 4,391 traffic accidents in 2023, up from 3,945 the year before.

These accidents resulted in 352 deaths, a slight increase from 343 the year before – which was considered an “all-time low” when roads were less busy in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

Road safety responsibility increasingly falls on drivers themselves
Dr Mostafa Al Dah, founder of MA Traffic Consulting

Last year, 5,568 people were injured in crashes, up from 5,045 the previous year.

“The fatalities number is hovering near an all-time low, which is wonderful news,” said Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE. “However, the rise in accidents and injuries is alarming, substantiating the need for a continued focus on road safety.”

Figures show that accidents in Abu Dhabi caused 133 deaths and 1,850 injuries, compared to 121 deaths and 2,607 injuries in Dubai.

In Sharjah, 34 people died in traffic accidents last year and 387 others were injured.

Ras Al Khaimah roads recorded 30 road fatalities and 326 injuries.

There were 16 road deaths in Umm Al Quwain and 63 injuries, 11 crash fatalities in Ajman and 133 injuries, while Fujairah saw seven road deaths and 202 injuries.

Five offences caused nearly 70 per cent of all road deaths. These were distracted driving, sudden deviation, tailgating, negligence and inattention, and lack of lane discipline.

“The fact that 98 per cent of casualties happen in good weather and in clear road conditions, leaves no excuses for road users and we must see more mindful and caring behaviour on the roads,” Mr Edelmann said.

Distracted driving was the leading cause of accidents in Abu Dhabi, with 509 incidents.

Sudden deviation was the leading cause of accidents in Dubai, with 517 incidents out of 2,176 collisions.

Out of 295 accidents in Sharjah, distracted driving caused 137, while out of 124 crashes in Ajman, negligence and inattention were the leading cause of 39.

Entering a road without checking if it was safe to do so was the number one cause of accidents in Umm Al Quwain, where 57 accidents were recorded.

Ras Al Khaimah saw 237 accidents happen last year and negligence and inattention were the leading causes with 47 incidents.

In Fujairah, sudden deviation was the main cause of accidents with 44 incidents out of 144 collisions.

Figures show that 15 per cent of major accidents are caused by new holders of driving licences.

“This calls for action from all relevant bodies. Also driving school education could be revisited – staged driving licences and monitoring technologies for novice drivers should be considered,” said Mr Edelmann.

Dr Mostafa Al Dah, an Emirati traffic safety researcher and the founder of MA Traffic Consulting, believes that a cultural shift in the perception of road safety is crucial.

“In the UAE, vehicle modernity is standard and safety features are advanced, therefore, road safety responsibility increasingly falls on drivers themselves,” said Dr Al Dah, who has extensive local and international experience with traffic departments.

“Drivers need to understand that accidents can happen to anyone and everyone.

“Most people involved in accidents would respond with ‘I never expected this would happen to me’.”

He said instilling traffic education from an early age was essential.

Updated: May 03, 2024, 2:47 PM