The Traffic and Patrols Directorate at the Abu Dhabi Police announced improved traffic safety levels across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi during the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. Traffic accident fatalities have decreased by 25%, from 162 to 121; severe injuries have decreased by 22%, from 173 to 135; and traffic accident fatalities for Emirati citizens have decreased by 18%. The rate of fatalities has improved per 10,000 vehicles by 30%, and per 10,000 license holders by 17%. Traffic accidents decreased overall by 8%, from 1061 to 971, despite the fact that the number of registered vehicles and drivers has increased during this period by 7%.

Brigadier Eng. Hussein Ahmed Al Harithi, Director of Traffic and Patrols Directorate at Abu Dhabi Police, stated that the improvement in safety levels has come as a result of the directorate’s efforts in implementing a comprehensive traffic safety plan, raising awareness, implementing an integrated speed management strategy, increasing enforcement and automated traffic control devices, and in developing a system to identify the motorists who run red lights.

Brigadier Eng. Al Harithi said, “These indicators complement the positive results that have been achieved over the past five years (2009-2013) with a 29% decrease in traffic accident fatalities; a 34% decrease in fatalities per 100,000 people; a 51% decrease in fatalities and 24% decrease in severe injuries per 10,000 vehicles, and a 33% decrease in traffic accident injuries. The directorate’s objective is to improve mortality rates by about 36% by the end of this year, which supports our vision of reaching zero fatalities from traffic accidents in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi by 2030.” 

Brigadier Eng. Al Harithi added, “The major causes of traffic accidents during the first half of the year were due to: sudden lane changes, speeding without considering the conditions of the road, running red lights, failing to leave a safe distance between vehicles, misjudging other road users, not giving the priority to pedestrians, and failing to comply with the rules of the lane.”

Explaining the characteristics of those who caused traffic accidents, Brigadier Eng. Al Harithi pointed out that, “78% of traffic accidents were caused by males, while 22% were caused by females and 54% of traffic accidents in Abu Dhabi were caused by people aged 30 and under. 41% of traffic accidents were caused by drivers of Asian nationality, and 29% by Emiratis. 43% of those injured in traffic accidents were not using their seat belt at the time of the accident.”

Brigadier Eng. Al Harithi linked these positive results to the application of international systems and practices. The directorate has continuously benchmarked their standards with the methods of advanced countries in the field of safety, and has relentlessly implemented the comprehensive plan of the directorate for traffic safety which complements the Engagement Pillar, now known as the “Six Es+1” – which refers to Engineering, Education, Enforcement, Emergency, Evaluation and Engagement. Brigadier Eng. Al Harithi highlighted the importance of engagement for traffic safety and in saving lives and properties.

Brigadier Eng. Al Harithi said, “The directorate has executed many comprehensive initiatives and projects with an innovative approach based on the integration of all traffic safety improvement elements. We have developed a control system in Abu Dhabi to identify motorists who run red lights in about 36 traffic light intersections. This system has led to an overall reduction of traffic accidents from running red lights by 31% and has lowered mortality rates resulting from these accidents by 73%. The 108 surveillance cameras in Abu Dhabi intersections have been activated to identify motorists who speed and run red lights.”

Brigadier Eng. Al Harithi reviewed the engineering initiatives and projects that have been implemented with key partners, including the follow-up and implementation of the speed-management strategy to improve traffic safety. These initiatives have included following-up the implementation of areas with changing speeds by marking parts of the roads in red to alert drivers that speeds have been reduced. Brigadier Eng. Al Harithi also reviewed the ‘Monitoring, Assessment and Issuance of Traffic Diversion Permits’ initiative, which is a unique universal system to computerize the issuance of permits and monitoring of road works, and evaluate and monitor traffic diversions and truck movement.
Moreover, Brigadier Eng. Al Harithi discussed the improvements achieved through the initiative ‘Towards Reducing Serious Injuries and Death Rates Caused by Run-Over Accidents’ that was launched by the directorate in 2011. This initiative aimed to reduce fatalities and serious injuries caused by run-over accidents and subsequently, fatalities by run-over deaths have notably dropped 59% over the past five years.

“These results have been achieved as a result of the development of the automated control system for traffic law violators, the implementation of an integrated strategy for controlling speeds on the roads, and the deployment of automatic control equipment radars,” he said. Brigadier Eng. Al Harithi also pointed out that the number of fixed and mobile radars deployed on various roads in Abu Dhabi reached 260 radars last year, which contributed to reducing the traffic accidents caused by speeding last year by about 44% when compared to 2012. Furthermore, he stressed the attention given by the directorate to the positive effect on the behavior of drivers when violations were handed out in-person, as also supported by research and studies in traffic fields.

Regarding the traffic awareness initiatives, Brigadier Eng. Al Harithi highlighted that the directorate has focused its efforts on the development of communication methods within various sectors of society. This has been done through educational programs including lectures, publications, competitions and awareness programs that have been held directly or indirectly. “Of the lectures that have been implemented during the first quarter of this year, 226 traffic awareness lectures have benefited about 21,208 people, including truck drivers, taxi drivers, motorists, and the transport sector in general. The directorate has also implemented traffic awareness programs in schools,” he noted.

The number of followers during the first quarter of ‘Together’, the Abu Dhabi traffic program to reduce traffic accidents, reached 24,888. Facebook and Twitter accounts had 637 followers, and awareness messages reached 4,730,551 Facebook users and 500,000 Twitter users.

Brigadier Eng. Al Harithi added, “The program included the launch of a number of community-based initiatives to improve safety, most notably the ‘Traffic Safety Ambassador’ initiative. The directorate selected around 100 prominent role models from a pool of 2,000 residents and citizens who were willing to serve as traffic safety ambassadors. The directorate also launched community-based initiatives that contribute to promoting traffic safety spirit in various communities through incentives, which operated within the framework of the Abu Dhabi traffic program to reduce traffic accidents, ‘Together’. These initiatives reflect the conviction of the Traffic and Patrols Directorate that traffic safety is a societal responsibility that involves all segments of society.

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