The UAE on Tuesday unveiled a major nationwide road project aimed at tackling accident hot spots, reducing flood risks and making the school run safer.
Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said the comprehensive scheme would use interactive warning systems on routes where frequent accidents occur and would pinpoint areas needing more pedestrian crossings.
Under the National Programme for Infrastructure Development – also known as Salamah 365 – authorities will monitor dams and valleys for potential flooding.
Sixteen dams and nine valleys across the country will be targeted in a pilot scheme.
Flooding during bouts of heavy rain can cause hazardous road conditions and a spike in crashes.
“The UAE is a pioneer in adopting ambitious initiatives and projects and issuing regulations that ensure our dams, roads, and buildings are state of the art,” said Mr Al Mazrouei, in remarks carried by state news agency Wam.
He said the ministry was keen to work with federal and local government and the private sector to ensure safety in all conditions.
Hassan Al Mansouri, Undersecretary for Infrastructure and Transport Affairs at the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, said the key initiative would also boost the safety of pupils through a 'smart school model', although more details were not given.
“The ministry will continue to forge ahead to become a successful model for cutting-edge infrastructure and transport,” said Mr Al Mansouri.
“Salamah 365 is an outcome of our joint efforts with our partners, and it will go a long way in strengthening the UAE’s global leadership in the sector.”
UAE road safety drive
Coloured lights are used, with blue and red flashing together to warn of traffic incidents, while a yellow light alerts drivers to bad weather such as fog, rain or dust storms.
The alerts are powered by solar energy and internal batteries and are visible from 200 metres, day and night.
New rules meaning motorists face fines of Dh400 for travelling below 120 kph on the first two lanes of the four-lane Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Road also came into effect in May.
The maximum speed on the route, which links Abu Dhabi and Dubai, will remain 140 kph.
“The goal of the low-speed activation is to ensure the safety of drivers, to require slow vehicles to move on the right lanes and to always make way for vehicles with preference coming from behind or from the left,” said Gen Ahmed Saif Al Muhairi, director of the Central Operations Sector at Abu Dhabi Police, following the announcement of the new rules.
Fewer deaths but rise in injuries on roads
More people were injured but fewer died in traffic accidents in the UAE last year, Ministry of Interior figures issued in June showed.
The number of crashes increased by 13 per cent in 2022 – to 3,945 up from 3,488 in 2021.
The ministry said 343 people died in accidents in 2022, down from 381.
The number of people injured almost doubled to 5,045, from 2,620 the year before.