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Dubai's road death toll falls after reduction in speed limits

The number of deaths caused by car crashes in Dubai fell last year for the first time in eight years, after transport officials lowered the speed limit on several dangerous roads. In total, there were 157 traffic deaths in 2008 compared with 180 in 2007. On one stretch of the E 11 Sheikh Zayed Road (Abu Dhabi – Dubai Highway), the limit was dropped from 120km/h (75mph) to 100km/h (62mph) and fatalities fell from 29 in 2007 to 10 last year, officials have announced.

“Speeding is a major factor in fatal crashes”, says Maitha bin Udai, the head of the Roads and Transport Authority’s (RTA) Traffic and Roads Agency. “The RTA has constructed several strategic projects capable of curbing this dangerous trend,” she says. “We are continuously studying and revising the speed limits on roads with the highest accident rates.” More than 3,300 people per day were caught speeding by radar and cameras last year, although the number of violations decreased slightly, from 1,310,184 in 2007 to 1,229,948. Salah Bu Farousha, the chief traffic prosecutor, says speed cameras had helped slow down drivers. “People know where the cameras are on all the main roads - and they are not going to go fast,” he says. He also says that video cameras have also been effective in cutting down on reckless driving.

The number of pedestrians killed by cars also decreased in 2008 from 132 in 2007 to 106. To protect pedestrians, the RTA has added eight footbridges over major roads, and nine more will open by the end of this year. When the remaining stops on the Metro’s Red Line open in February 2010, 29 new footbridges will be opened. The RTA is making other changes as well. New laws will address jaywalking; licensing rules will change for drivers with less than two years’ experience; roads will be audited for engineering problems; and speed-limiting measures will be introduced on roads with high accident rates.

 

November 24, 2009

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