Awareness, enforcement cut road deaths in Abu Dhabi



Publicity campaigns, strict enforcement and improved traffic systems have helped to cut road deaths in Abu Dhabi by 18 per cent in the first eight months of the year.

There were 172 fatalities from January to August compared with 210 in the same period last year, the Abu Dhabi Police Traffic and Patrols Directorate (TPD) said on Monday.

The number of people sustaining severe injuries also fell, by 22 per cent, from 242 to 188.

Road accidents overall dropped by 7 per cent from the previous year, despite the number of registered vehicles and drivers increasing by 17 per cent and 7 per cent respectively.

“Such results support the TPD’s future vision which targets zero traffic fatalities in the emirate by the year 2030,” said Brig Hussain Al Harthi, director of the directorate.

By the end of 2013, it had achieved 29 per cent of the 2030 vision of zero deaths, when road deaths declined from 409 to 289, he said.

Brig Al Harthi said the decline in traffic-related deaths and injuries was due to a comprehensive traffic safety plan and awareness campaigns; an integrated speed strategy; tougher enforcement and automated traffic control devices; and the development of a system to identify motorists who run red lights.

The traffic safety improvement strategy of the directorate is based on what it calls the Six E's: enforcement, education, engineering, emergency response, evaluation and engagement, plus integration. Engagement highlights the importance of social responsibility in traffic safety.

Glenn Havinoviski, a transport expert in Abu Dhabi, said the reduction in accidents was a “good sign”, but circumstances could be improved.

“Further work is still needed both to enforce traffic laws, for drivers to be more disciplined and respect the speed limits, and for children and babies to be properly fastened in the appropriate child or baby seats,” he said.

Excessive speed and sudden swerving were the top contributing factors, each causing 17 per cent of road incidents in the first eight months this year.

Negligence and poor discipline caused 15 percent of deaths; failing to leave a safe distance between vehicles 11 per cent; jumping red lights 9 per cent; and burst tyres 2 per cent.

Brig Al Harthi urged drivers to adhere to traffic laws.

Drivers aged 18 to 30 caused 47 per cent of traffic accidents, followed by drivers aged 31 to 45, who caused 35 per cent of accidents.

Over the same period, 79 per cent of fines handed out were for speeding.

Brig Al Harthi called on drivers to stick to the speed limit, to keep themselves and other road users safe.

Lectures have been held to raise traffic safety awareness among drivers in the public and private sector, including drivers of lorries, heavy vehicles and taxis.

The directorate has recently launched a traffic safety awareness majlis to enhance methods of communicating with the public and to build a culture of traffic safety, especially among young motorists who are considered to be the pillars of the nation, he said.

rruiz@thenational.ae

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