ABU DHABI // Road deaths in Abu Dhabi dropped by almost a quarter in the first three months of this year.
But safety experts say the number losing their lives is still far too high.
Abu Dhabi Police said 60 people died on the roads between January and last month, down from 77 in the same period last year.
Injuries were down by about 40 per cent – from 148 people to 90.
Police said road safety campaigns, new speed cameras and adjusted speed limits were all playing their part in reducing road tragedies.
Brig Gen Ali Al Dhaheri, director general of police operations, said extra police presence was also reminding motorists to drive more safely.
But road safety experts warn that time will tell if the drop is part of a wider trend.
“Any drop in the number of accidents and casualties is obviously good news,” said Phil Clarke, a consultant at the Transport Research Laboratory UAE.
“But comparing similar periods in two consecutive years is a small statistical snapshot of the overall picture.”
Almost one in five deaths are pedestrians, or caused by them running across roads and forcing drivers to swerve.
“Far too many drivers fail to give way to pedestrians on crossing, even though they are required to, and other drivers get impatient with those that do,” Mr Clarke said.
“Some robust enforcement of this will help to re-establish the ground rules.”
Speeding, inattention, driving recklessly in poor conditions, running through red lights and tailgating were the main cause of fatal accidents.
Police and experts hope the introduction of compulsory seatbelts and child restraints for all passengers will further cut the fatality numbers.
"The new seat belt law will also help if it is enforced robustly, but it won't prevent accidents from occurring," Mr Clarke said.
By July, drivers will be fined Dh400 and have four black points on their licence if they or their passengers are not strapped in.
Of the other emirates, the Central Region of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah said their road tolls were down for the first three months of this year.
RAK reported a slight drop, from 14 to 16. Sharjah Central region lost six people, compared with 16 from January to March last year.
Dubai is yet to report.
Iftekhar Ahmed, 59, a Bangladeshi-born Canadian electrical engineer, said there was still not enough provision made for pedestrians.
“Many drivers, the road bullies, have no respect for pedestrians,” Mr Ahmed said.
He launched a community awareness project on pedestrian safety several years ago, and said faded marking on city roads left pedestrians confused.
Last month, UAE-wide figures published during GCC Traffic Week showed a sharp increase in the number of people killed in traffic accidents from 675 in 2015 to 725 last year.
Almost half of road accidents were caused by drivers aged between 18 and 30.