Patrols, radars, speed cameras reduce Dubai's road toll

The number of people killed in Dubai traffic accidents has declined by nearly 50 per cent over the same period last year, officials say.

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DUBAI // The number of deaths on Dubai roads has fallen more than 40 per cent so far this year compared with the same period last year.

Thirty-three people died in the first three months of this year, a marked decrease from 56 a year ago, Salah Bu Faroosha, Dubai's chief traffic prosecutor, said yesterday.

The drop was due to increased patrols on the emirate's most dangerous roads, according to Lt Col Saif al Mazroui, deputy head of the traffic police. "We have intensified our patrols on Emirates Road, Dubai Bypass Road and Sheikh Zayed Road, which are the deadliest roads in Dubai," he said. "This has helped in reducing speed, and thus road fatalities.

"There were many accidents on Emirates Road coming from Sharjah to Rashidya due to the lanes suddenly expanded from three to six.

"So we intensified our patrols there and also recommended better signage - something that had a positive impact."

Lt Col al Mazroui said senior officers were often dispatched on patrols.

"Having senior officers, including the head of the traffic department, patrolling the roads gave weight to our message that violators will not be tolerated," he said,adding that the installation of more speed cameras on dangerous roads also helped to reduce accident numbers.

Of this year's 33 fatalities, 16 were drivers who were at fault and 17 were victims who were not at fault, Mr Bu Faroosha said. Two of those killed were women and six were Emiratis, the data showed.

Statistics released in January by traffic prosecution showed that 80 per cent of road deaths were caused by driver error.

"The majority of the accidents and offences were caused by human error," Mr Bu Faroosha said. "We would like all drivers to adhere to traffic regulations to avoid prosecution to the full extent of the law."

Traffic police statistics from last year showed the number of traffic offences dropped to 2,350,989 from 2009's 2,417,253.

The number of people not wearing a seat belt rose from 41,472 in 2009 to 78,513 last year, an increase of 53 per cent.

Statistics also showed a drop in the number of fatalities involving children younger than 15. There were eight child deaths in 2009, while six died last year.

Dubai Police attributed that improvement to 27 new radar systems installed across the city, in addition to 282 existing radars. Police also have 21 mobile radar systems and 156 cameras placed at 55 intersections.

Mr Bu Faroosha said that if a fatal accident occurred, an investigation - including taking statements from officers, witnesses and experts - must be completed within 48 hours to determine if charges should be brought .

"If not enough evidence is present against a driver involved in a deadly accident, no action is taken against them and the case would be dismissed," he said.