A study conducted recently by Dr Mohammed Murad Abdulla, director of the Dubai Police-affiliated Research and Studies Centre, revealed facts and figures of the traffic situation in Dubai.
According to the findings of the study, the traffic situation is linked to the social and economical progress of each country and traffic awareness takes a long time to be achieved.
In the study, Sweden was set as a model for other countries where the rate of deaths is only five for each 10,000 people and 2.4 deaths for each 10,000 vehicles. Such low rates are the best in the world, it said.
Abdulla delved into the history of traffic in the country from the sixties when simple economic life prevailed to the end of the millennium. Fatalities in road accidents were very few in the Sixties as the number of vehicles was limited.
In the Seventies, fatalities increased sharply to reach a rate of 38 per each 100.000 people. That was at the early stages of development, where Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were on top of the world list to have the maximum rate of fatalities in road accidents. For example in l976, the rates in these countries were 46,47,32,29 and 27 respectively.
The rate of fatalities in the developed countries did not exceed 18 at that time. Then the rate declined to 28 in the Eighties, 18 in the Nineties and 12 at the end of the second millennium. Such a decline reflects the great efforts exerted and the great expenditure allocated to maintain road safety in Dubai.
The study also listed the most important factors that affect the traffic situation in Dubai. The first is that Dubai lies in the middle of the other emirates; it is the link between Abu Dhabi and the Northern Emirates.
The second factor is the daily commuters who work in the emirate and live in others. "The large number of heavy vehicles using the roads in the emirate is another factor," said Abdulla.
The increase of vehicle possession due to high incomes and use of private cars more than public means of transport though they are modern and comfortable is another factor affecting the situation.
The study also revealed that in the last decade, victims of road accidents reached 30,125 with an average rate 3,000 annually. Fatalities were 4.24 of the total rate victims, or 1,278 fatalities; an average of 128 annually, national fatalities were 23.6 per cent with an average 30 annually. Road accidents decreased since 1990 until 2000 despite the constant increase of vehicles registered. The number of vehicles registered is almost 135 vehicles daily with an annual figure of 4,500.
The most important procedures adopted by Dubai Police to face the traffic problems associated with the rapid pace of development are varied. One of the most important steps is the motorist's record, which provides information about careless motorists, in order to decide the adequate penalties against them. Developing the traffic rules and regulations and improving traffic policemen performance is another step.
Another way is seeking help from traffic experts and holding training courses for traffic policemen. Improving ambulance and emergency system and providing a state-of-the art equipment rescue vehicles and planes, conducting awareness campaigns, and proper installation of speed monitoring system (radar) to control speed limit violators are other steps taken.
Other measures include strict implementation of traffic fines, enhancing traffic safety procedures like seat-belt rule enforcement, ban on using mobile phones while driving and ban heavy vehicles from overtaking and applying the yellow box rule at intersections and side roads. Moreover, the study contained some remarks about the traffic situation in Dubai in 1999. Around 2,299 road accidents were reported with a decrease of 3.97 per cent than the previous year. The highest average of road accidents was reported on Fridays, whereas the lowest were reported on Sundays. Most accidents happened in March. The percentage of accidents made by nationals was 23 per cent. Motorists who are 24 to 30 years old made most accidents.
Fatalities increased in collision accidents by a percentage of 18.2 per cent than in 1998. The percentage of nationals involved in road accidents was 20.4 per cent, the lowest, compared with rates prior to 1999. Around 30 per cent of all the fatalities happened on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai road.
Article Courtesy: Gulf Today