Traffic patrol firm boasts of rapid response times

A private company that will begin handling minor traffic accidents from Monday, says its accident response time averages less than nine minutes.

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ABU DHABI // A private company that will take over handling of minor traffic accidents from Abu Dhabi Police on Monday has said that in a two-month pilot trial in Musaffah, its accident response time averaged less than nine minutes. Saaed, a national company, dealt with 2,858 minor accidents in the industrial area in an average time of eight minutes, 48 seconds. Traffic police hailed the experiment as a success and said residents were pleased with how quickly calls were answered. Next Monday, the company will officially take over response and reporting duties for minor accidents on external roads outside Abu Dhabi island. Saaed's patrol cars will attend to minor accidents and draw up reports, including diagrams of crash scenes, to help determine fault. The company will start with 25 patrol cars but more patrols will be added as the service expands to include Al Ain and eventually the island. The private patrols would help reduce the workload on Abu Dhabi Police and allow officers to concentrate on more serious accidents and policing to ensure road safety, said Engineer Maj Hussein Ahmed al Harthi, head of the traffic engineering and road safety section for Abu Dhabi traffic and patrols department. Maj Harthi said the decision to hire the private firm was supported by Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Minister of Interior, and was prompted by the high number of accidents caused by an increasing number of vehicles on the emirate's roads. There were 1,434 accidents in Abu Dhabi in the first four months of the year, although police said new federal traffic laws, including a black points system, had helped to significantly reduce traffic offences. The introduction of private patrolling is a first for the Middle East, Mr Harthi said. A committee travelled to Europe and East Asia to study similar programmes and learn the pros and cons, he said. He asked drivers to cooperate with the Saaed employees, who are well-trained and experienced to deal with accident reporting. Each patrol car will be equipped with first aid gear, and able to communicate with control centres at Saaed and the traffic police department. In another traffic management measure municipal parking inspectors trained by London-based NCP Services will hand out parking tickets under a recently announced programme expected to cost more than Dh900 million (US$245m). @Email:mchung@thenational.ae