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Wednesday, 18 July, 2012

Positive signs for traffic safety within the first six months in Abu Dhabi

  • The Traffic and Patrols Directorate at the Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters announced a substantial improvement in the levels of traffic safety during the first half of 2012, as deaths due to traffic accidents decreased by 31%, severe injuries decreased by 10%, traffic accidents resulting in injuries decreased by 11% while deaths among Emirati Nationals decreased by 11%.

    Despite an increase of 16% in the numbers of registered vehicles and 22% in the number of drivers, statistics also showed a decrease of 60% in the number of deaths due to accidents on the Abu Dhabi- Sila’- Hamim roads and a 44% decrease in the number of deaths due to accidents, on the top ten most dangerous roads at the Emirate. 

    In a news conference he held today, Brigadier Eng. Hussein Ahmed Al Harithi, Director of Traffic and Patrols Directorate at Abu Dhabi Police, shed light on the most significant positive indicators achieved during the first half of this year, noting that they are the fruitful results of the efforts, plans and methods implemented. He pointed out that the number of deaths due to traffic accidents decreased by 31% to 131 cases compared to 191 deaths at the same period last year, while severe injuries decreased by 10%, from 197 to 131 cases.

    Deaths among Emirati nationals decreased by 11%, from 47 to 42 cases; pedestrian deaths decreased by 20%, from 41 to 32 cases, while traffic accidents resulting in injuries decreased by 10% from 1180 to 1085 cases. Results also showed a decrease of 44% in deaths on all external roads, a 9% decrease in Al Ain and 58% decrease in the Western Region. 

    During the press conference, Brigadier Al Harithi showcased the positive phenomena of traffic safety that have been achieved during the first half of 2012, notably the 37% decrease in traffic accidents due to negligence and lack of attention, which demonstrates the effectiveness of the traffic awareness programs. Other positive results, according to Al Harithi, was the 21% decrease in traffic accidents due to over-speeding, which was achieved through a comprehensive strategy to control speed on both internal and external roads in Abu Dhabi; the increase of automated speed control devices and the awareness programs that aim to raise the culture of traffic among motorists.

    Brigadier Al Harithi also highlighted the negative phenomena during the same period, which are being studied, in order to develop the proper effective solutions to avoid them during the second half of the year. Such phenomena include an increase of traffic accidents due to crossing the red light and failure to give priority to pedestrians in designated locations. Al Harithi pointed out that automated speed control devices are currently being installed to monitor red-light crossing and over-speeding at roads intersections.

    “Among the negative phenomena, we also witnessed an increase in traffic accidents due to failure to leave a safe distance between vehicles, and a high incidence of accidents involving motorists with only 3 to 5 years of experience. Such problems are being addressed in collaboration with the Emirates Driving Company,” he added.

    Al Harithi confirmed that the Directorate is very keen to improve the levels of traffic safety in order to reach the “Vision Zero and Traffic safety” by 2030, by implementing a number of methods and initiatives that focus on developing and implementing traffic accidents data mechanisms, increasing traffic control efficiency, increasing the numbers of automated speed control devices, as well as pursuing the exerted efforts that aim to improve traffic safety levels on all roads, in cooperation with the concerned partners.

    He shed light on the many initiatives being implemented, including the initiative to reduce deaths rates due to run-over accidents; the initiative to reduce deaths rates on the Abu Dhabi- Sila’- Hamim roads; the initiative to decrease deaths rates on the top-ten most dangerous roads in Abu Dhabi, in addition to the Abu Dhabi Traffic Program to put an end to traffic accidents, titled ‘Together’, which is a comprehensive program to raise traffic awareness targeting all community members. Al Harithi also mentioned a number of other initiatives that played a significant role in achieving the desired results.

    Brigadier Al Harithi added: “The directorate has declared 2012 as the traffic awareness year, as a move to raise traffic awareness among all community members, and achieve a sustainable traffic safety by implementing comprehensive awareness methods.” He noted that the awareness programs organized within the educational sector, the public and private institutions and companies in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region, amounted to 411 lectures and awareness programs benefiting about 38,463 individuals, at a daily average rate of 2.3 programs. He also said that 9 traffic and field awareness programs were also implemented, targeting 1157 truck drivers from the private sector. 

    Moreover, Al Harithi reviewed what was achieved through the Abu Dhabi Traffic Program ‘Together’ to put an end to traffic accidents, which include a number of interactive programs aimed at all community members, in order to urge them to share their opinions on traffic safety. He regarded the programs as a significant development in the field of traffic safety, as they included 9 leading initiatives on traffic awareness, such as the ‘The Best Family complying with Traffic Regulations,’ which honors a family whose members have not committed any traffic violations, involving families in their own homes, thus spreading the culture of traffic safety among different age categories.

    “The ‘No Violations’ initiative aims to encourage motorists to avoid committing violations through self-control; the ‘We Care for Your Safety’ initiative, enhances communication with workers by reaching them at their work locations. The ‘Our Future Depends on Your Driving’ is a children-oriented initiative that encourages children to participate in traffic safety by sending messages to their parents and families, and watching traffic awareness videos provided on the website, addressing the various traffic issues,” he said. “The ‘Digital Traffic Violation’ initiative is also featured on the website; it contributes in spreading the culture of traffic, via  a hypothetical violation that community members can exchange in order to avoid their occurrence” he added.

    Brigadier Al Harithi also reviewed the participation rate in the Abu Dhabi Traffic Program to reduce traffic accidents titled ‘Together’ on the social media websites. He said: “Total comments and views on Facebook amounted to 3,554,967, followers on Facebook amounted to 1222, interactions on Twitter reached 1300 members and more than 1500 retweets on Twitter in less than two weeks. The total awareness messages through Twitter reached 400,000 followers in the UAE and went beyond that to followers from neighboring countries. Viewings of the awareness video amounted to 300, demonstrating the success of the Abu Dhabi Traffic Program,” he continued.

    Al Harithi stressed that all positive traffic safety indicators achieved in Abu Dhabi, are the result of the comprehensive traffic safety plan on all levels, including, engineering, traffic control, education, fast response, healthcare and the constant evaluation of results and performance indicators. He said that the plan was implemented via an integrated set of systems supported by geographic information systems, constantly measured and monitored.

    Al Harithi said that the key steps adopted by the Directorate to implement its plan and achieve a sustainable traffic safety, were based on setting  a future vision and goals; in line with the best scientific practices and by developing an integrated strategy to improve traffic safety. “Through this strategy, the Directorate defined its missions and actions, and evaluated their efficiency on all levels, including management, engineering planning, traffic control, awareness, education and fast response,” he continued.

    Also in that context, Brigadier Al Harithi reiterated the constant evaluation, in addition to defining and distributing responsibilities to relevant parties and key partners, as traffic safety is regarded as a social responsibility. He also shed light on developing programs and data management systems, as well as defining proper solutions supported by geographic information, monitoring and constant evaluation systems.

    Al Harithi went on to explain the mechanism of implementation of the Directorate’s future plan, which is based on a number of significant pillars including a continuous evaluation of the best international practices, the ultimate investment of the geographic information and artificial intelligence systems to support decision-making and the development of human resources. “Developing human resources will be achieved through a comprehensive system to manage traffic safety in Abu Dhabi. This includes the investment of intelligent traffic systems, geographic information systems, traffic lights and bridge traffic control devices, intelligent traffic awareness systems, the personnel and properties management system at the Traffic and Patrols Directorate, in addition to the other advanced intelligent systems,” he said.

    Brigadier Al Harithi confirmed the continuous efforts to develop the traffic system in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi according to quality standards; the use of the intelligent systems in all fields; developing the human resources by providing them with the latest scientific breakthroughs, in order to enhance the Directorate’s role to deliver distinguished services to the community. He also shed light on the efforts that earned the Directorate the first place in the Khalifa Award for Education 2012 in the category of employing education to achieve sustainable traffic safety in Abu Dhabi community, as well as earning the Japanese Continuous Improvement KAIZEN Award, which supports the exerted efforts to improve the services according to quality standards and best practices.

    Brigadier Al Harithi commended the support of strategic partners, which aims to enhance the efforts and initiatives of the Traffic and Patrols Directorate to improve the levels of traffic safety in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. He expressed his appreciation for the Abu Dhabi Education Council, Department of Transportation in Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Municipality, Al Ain Municipality, the Western Region Municipality, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, Abu Dhabi Media Company and the SAAED Society to reduce traffic accidents, asserting that traffic safety is a social responsibility.

    The press conference was attended by Colonel Hamad Mubarak bin Atheith Al Amri, Director of Capital Traffic Department; Colonel Hamad Nasser Al Baloushi, Director of External Roads Traffic Department; Colonel Ahmed Al Shehhi, Director of the Client Service Centers, Lt. Colonel Yaslam Mubarak Al Tamimi, Acting Director of the Traffic Engineering and Road Safety Department and Lt. Colonel Mohammed Dahi, Director of Traffic Investigations Division