More than 21,000 caught jumping red lights in Abu Dhabi in 2014

The 21,688 vehicles – the number equates to nearly 60 every day of the year – were caught by Abu Dhabi Police’s new no-flash cameras.
Abu Dhabi will continue the roll-out of traffic management systems and publicise its road safety measures. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
Abu Dhabi will continue the roll-out of traffic management systems and publicise its road safety measures. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

ABU DHABI // Nearly 22,000 motorists were caught driving through red lights in the capital last year.

The 21,688 vehicles – the number equates to nearly 60 every day of the year – were caught by Abu Dhabi Police’s new no-flash cameras, which are installed at more than 50 major junctions in the city.

Yet despite the high number of offenders, the number of accidents caused by red-light jumpers has fallen since 2013. One hundred and fifty two accidents were caused in the capital last year by drivers going through red lights compared with 233 the previous year.

The no-flash cameras use infrared light to detect offences that include vehicles crossing pedestrian lanes, excessive speed and turns or U-turns from the wrong lanes.

They are part of the traffic department’s monitoring project, which started in 2012. As well as the 50 in Abu Dhabi city there are 100 more across the emirate including in Al Ain and Al Gharbia.

Abu Dhabi will continue to install and activate cameras at other traffic junctions across the emirate. The directorate identified the locations based on the frequency of accidents and traffic density.

They cover more than five lanes in each direction, scanning licence plates of all passing vehicles, and can determine the number and classification of vehicles and the average speed, as well as identify the number and direction of pedestrians crossing at red and green lights.

Brig Khalifa Al Khaili, director of traffic engineering and road safety at the traffic police, urged drivers to observe rules, slow down as they approach traffic lights and junctions, and avoid speeding up when signals change from green to amber.

Offenders will receive eight black points on their driving record, an Dh800 fine and their vehicle will be confiscated for 15 days, he warned.

Lt Col Jamal Al Ameri, head of public relations at the directorate, said: “Drivers must be aware of the existence of these no-flash cameras which not only captures vehicles driving through red lights but also excessive speed.

“They must not increase their speed and should keep a sufficient and safe distance between the vehicle in front.”

And Thomas Edelmann, founder of Road Safety UAE, said that motorists must pay attention to traffic signals, and watch out for vehicles ahead that may brake hard to avoid amber or red lights.

“Drivers are seriously endangering themselves, other drivers and pedestrians by jumping red lights,” he said. “Signal areas are hotspots and require our full attention so we must make sure to keep our eyes on the road and not be distracted.”

Dr Salaheddine Bendak, a road safety specialist and associate professor of industrial engineering at the University of Sharjah, welcomed the move by the police to publicise traffic statistics that show the extent of the problem.

“There should be more public awareness campaigns in schools, universities, malls, sport stadiums and places frequented by young drivers and red-light jumpers,” he said. “There are strong indicators that these awareness campaigns have not reached some drivers.”

Graphic images of casualties in road accidents should be shown, he said, as many studies show these work as a deterrent.

“There is also a need to increase penalties for repeat offenders and force them to attend traffic safety awareness course as studies have revealed that this has partially showed positive results in some western countries.”

rruiz@thenational.ae

Published: February 11, 2015 04:00 AM

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