Dubai to review speed limits in bid to reduce road deaths

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Traffic-related casualties show huge spike in the first seven months on 2013

Dubai: Due to the increase in the number of run-over incidents, Dubai Police and the Roads and Traffic Authority are considering reducing the speed limit on Dubai roads.

As the number of run-over incidents continues to increase this year, Asian labourers remain the number one victims due to a lack of awareness, revealed Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Chief of the Dubai Police Traffic Department.

Major General Al Zafein told Gulf News that the number of deaths caused by run-over incidents in the last seven months has exceeded the number of run-over deaths caused in the same period last year.

“Since the beginning of the year there has been 27 deaths caused by run-over incidents which is an increase from last year’s 24 deaths that occurred in the same period. In almost every single incident the victims are Asian labourers s who attempt crossing main roads like Shaikh Zayed Road and Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road,” said Major General Al Zafein.

“Not only has the number of run-over incidents increased this year but the number of deaths caused by road traffic accidents has increased as well.”

“There has been an improvement in the last five years in the number of deaths caused by road accidents in Dubai. However, this year, the numbers have increased noticeably. The number of people who died in road accidents in the first seven months of this year has increased to 101 from 64 for the same period last year.”

He added that the causes for the increase this year was because many of the accidents, especially the ones that occurred last month, resulted in the death of more than one victim per accident.

Another reason is because that all accidents that involve cars are considered road traffic incidents which in Major General Al Zafein’s opinion is a wrong representation of the total number of deaths. “This is because there are no laws or regulations in areas such as beaches and deserts that the drivers can break; hence they are not under the police’s jurisdiction,”

Major General Al Zafein added that though the number of deaths caused by road accidents has decreased in the last five years, deaths caused by run-over incidents never did.

“Run-over incidents remain a serious problem as the police issues yearly an average of 33,000 fines to those who cross the road from unauthorised and dangerous areas.”


Reducing ing the speed limit is a crucial aspect that Major General Al Zafein spoke about: “Reducing the speed limit is important and in my opinion would save lives because accidents are bound to happen; however the impact of the accident would be much less if the cars were travelling at a lower speed and instead of people dying they might, god forbid, sustain less severe injuries.”

Major General Al Zafein said that the Roads and Transport Authority is studying the matter of reducing speed limits on Dubai roads.

He also added that though the police department constantly holds awareness campaign in labour accommodations, labourers still cross the roads from unauthorised points. Therefore there is a need for employers’ support and cooperation with the police by providing labourers with buses to transport them to the other side of the road.

They should also help raise awareness about the consequences of crossing main roads from unauthorised points.

More pedestrian bridges should also be provided as well as higher fines in order to reduce these incidents.

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