Two pedestrians killed, three seriously injured in two weeks

In the past fortnight, pedestrian crashes have led to two fatalities and three serious injuries.

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ABU DHABI // Two pedestrians have been killed and three seriously injured in the past two weeks after being hit by cars.

A report issued yesterday by Abu Dhabi traffic police reflected figures from a four-year study that monitored crashes between 6pm and 9pm - when almost a quarter of all accidents involving pedestrians occur.

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According to the study, driver distraction was to blame for 40 per cent of pedestrian accidents, while 20 per cent could be attributed to speeding.

The report found just five per cent of accidents during the four-year period had been caused by drivers not giving priority to pedestrians.

Hassan Ali, a Lebanese resident who has been driving on Abu Dhabi roads for about 10 years, blamed pedestrians.

"You'll be driving on a low-lit road at 100kph, and out of nowhere a pedestrian pops out on the street from an undesignated crossing," he said. "The driver can only do so much to prevent such an incident from ending tragically."

To curb the number of accidents, the Abu Dhabi traffic police have intensified efforts to find and penalise offenders.

In May alone, 2,300 jaywalkers were fined. A majority of the offenders were caught in Electra Street, Hamdan Street, Khalidiya and near shopping malls and industrial zones, such as those in Musaffah.

Mohammed Khattab, an American resident who recently began driving in Abu Dhabi, said that while pedestrians often showed a lack of judgement on the roads, many accidents happened because motorists refuse to give pedestrians priority.

"You'll find many pedestrians hesitating, standing on the road shoulder, even at pedestrian crossings," Mr Khattab, 18, said.

"If a driver sees a pedestrian is waiting on the side of the street, he should immediately slow down. It only takes a few moments."

According to the study, five per cent of accidents were the result of pedestrians stopping halfway and hesitating about whether they should continue or turn back.

Last year, the emirate recorded 101 pedestrian fatalities, with 70 per cent of those in Abu Dhabi city, 20 per cent in Al Ain and 10 per cent in Al Gharbia.

Police officials said they hoped to cut the number of pedestrian deaths by half by the end of this year through awareness campaigns and stricter enforcement of jaywalking rules.