Officials backtrack on move to reduce speed limits on Emirates and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed roads
DUBAI // Officials on Wednesday backtracked on an earlier decision to cut the speed limits on two of the country’s most dangerous motorways.
The Roads and Transport Authority had said the speed limits on Emirates and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed roads in Dubai would be reduced from 120kph to 110kph.
Dubai Police and the RTA originally said they had, during meetings, concluded that the limit should fall and speed cameras be reset for 131kph on both roads to improve safety.
But the decision was later downplayed, with the authority saying anything was possible as an outcome of the discussions.
Emirates Road and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road are the most dangerous in Dubai.
Last year, 51 people died in accidents on the motorways – 33 on the latter and 18 on the former.
Lt Col Omar Ashour, director of traffic investigation at Al Rashidiya police station, said Emirates Road was one of the five most dangerous in Dubai.
“Ten deaths were reported in Dubai over the past two months, five of which occurred on the Emirates Road,” Lt Col Ashour said.
At the road safety meeting, agreement was reached to launch campaigns to monitor lorries and report any driving offences.
Lt Col Ashour said there were 44,826 general traffic offences in Al Rashidiya’s jurisdiction last year, compared with 53,148 in 2015.
Seventy-five of last year’s offences were for driving under the influence of alcohol. About 995 vehicles were seized in the same period.
Lt Col Ashour said 12 more speed cameras would be installed in the Rashidiya police station area, which covers Mirdif, northern parts of Emirates Road and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road in Dubai, Al Warqa, Al Twar, Umm Ramool and Nad Al Hamar.
Dubai traffic police have increased patrols and radar on the emirate’s most dangerous roads in an attempt to reduce the number of deaths.
Thomas Edelmann, founder of RoadSafetyUAE.com, said reducing the speed limit was one way to reduce road fatalities and the severity of accidents.
Introducing an element of surprise for motorists, especially on roads where major accidents take place, is another method, said Mr Edelmann. This requires more police and civil patrol cars as well as more mobile radar.
“What I mean by the element of surprise is producing the perception among motorists that their behaviour is constantly monitored by police,” he said.
“Those who are committing traffic crime usually slow down whenever they see a radar,” Mr Edelmann said.
Research conducted by his group on why motorists speed showed that 67 per cent did so because they were running late, 53 per cent sped for fun or to impress others, and 45 per cent did so out of habit.
“Despite widespread awareness of the UAE’s driving rules, many motorists seem to be consciously ignoring the dangers of speeding,” Mr Edelmann said.
“We need to address the main motivators behind speeding by holistic and permanent awareness initiatives, focusing on the need for proper time management and the importance of overcoming the nuisance of impressing others and entrenched habits.”
Updated: July 21, 2017 06:51 PM