Three people were killed and 44 injured in an accident involving a bus, a lorry, a minivan and a car in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Police received a call about a crash on the inbound road at Al Shawamekh Bridge at 7.30am. A bus driver heading from Khalifa City A towards Mussasfah had crashed into a Nissan Patrol, which then crashed into a minivan.
All three drivers survived the accident; however, three labourers on board the bus died after the road's metal barrier broke through the side of the vehicle.
Forty-four labourers on board the bus were injured.
The bus driver told police that a lorry suddenly appeared in front of him and as he swerved to avoid it, he crashed into the Nissan Patrol. The Emirati driver of the Nissan also attempted to avoid the crash, but hit a minivan in the process.
Brig Gen Salem Al Dhaheri, head of exterior roads at Abu Dhabi's traffic police, said that initial investigations found the bus driver had been speeding because the vehicle "flipped once, twice, a third time, and on the fourth flip landed straight up on its tyres – this indicates high speed".
He said police were able to analyse the speed the bus had been travelling at by calculating the distance between where it first swerved and where it stopped after the crash.
They also said the bus had not been travelling at a safe distance from the Nissan.
Following further investigations, however, police said they suspect the main cause of the crash was that the driver of the bus and the lorry had been distracted by their mobile phones.
“We are seeking data that could confirm whether the drivers were using their phones at the time of the accident,” Mr Al Dhaheri said.
The driver of the minivan, identified as being Asian, and the Emirati Nissan driver are so far being thought of as victims of the incident and will have no charges brought against them “unless proven otherwise”.
Police will be raising a report of their final findings with the prosecutors within 48 hours.
Police patrols, ambulances and police field hospital staff attended the scene, and the injured were transferred to Al Rahba and Al Mafraq hospitals.
Mr Al Dhaheri highlighted that being distracted from the road was a major cause of accidents, especially due to mobile phones. He urged motorists not to use them while driving.
In April, more than 12,000 Dubai motorists were fined for using their mobile phones while driving. The figure was said to be down almost a quarter from the same period in the previous year.