Abu Dhabi: Speeding is the single biggest traffic safety concern for the UAE’s travelling public, 999 Magazine’s national driving survey revealed.
The study, which polled 1,350 respondents across the country, found that even as 68 per cent of respondents consider road travel in the UAE relatively safe, they welcome the idea of increased use of unmarked police vehicles to curb down instances of breaking the speed limits on UAE roads.
General carelessness remains the No. 2 concern, followed by drink driving or driving under the influence of alcohol, rubbernecking (insufficient distance between vehicles), and jumping of red signals.
Inconsiderate turning is at No. 6 on the list, followed by loss of control due to tyre blowouts, and not using proper child restraints or seatbelts.
The consequences of speeding are fatal, so much so that the UAE continuously increases the number of fixed and mobile speed traps or cameras on the roads in an attempt to reduce accidents.
Speed limits on some of the more dangerous highways in the country were also reduced, in addition to the aggressive nationwide marketing campaign against speeding.
The poll, conducted by the official English monthly of the Ministry of Interior, found that the problem is not a lack of awareness of the laws governing this issue, with 97 per cent of respondents of all ages confirming their knowledge of traffic penalties. Yet, reigning speeding drivers seems to be elusive.
To help end this problem, respondents believe the increased use of unmarked vehicles to detect road offenders would be a good idea. While two in three (66 per cent) said such measures were fair, a majority (56 per cent) favour an increase in the use of the same.
Lt Colonel Awadh Saleh Al Kindi, Editor-in-Chief of 999, said: “We need to educate all the motorists, especially the younger ones, about the dangers of speeding. The number of deaths and injuries being caused by speeding-related accidents has already come under the official scanner.
“We have approached this through a two-pronged strategy: On one hand, officials have warned strict action against drivers who endanger the lives of other road users, besides their own; on the other, the police are carrying out awareness campaigns and encouraging family members of road accident victims to speak to young vehicle users, making them aware of the tragic consequences of a reckless joyride.
“We hope that everyone will start to do their part in safeguarding the lives of everyone by being a responsible motorist.” Overall, around the country, police efforts have been paying off. Data from the General Directorate of Traffic Coordination at the Ministry of Interior show a decline in road fatalities in 2011 by 12.8 per cent compared to the year before. In 2010, there were 826 fatalities, while in 2011 the figure was 720.
During this period, collision and crash accidents declined by 11.6 per cent; the number of cases of overturned vehicles decreased more than 20 per cent; and car accidents involving pedestrians fell by 8.6 per cent.
The survey is published in the August edition of English 999 magazine, a part of the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of the Interior to provide media coverage for the activities and efforts of the ministry and Abu Dhabi Police. It also aims to encourage the public to contribute to the reduction of crime and enhancement of safety in the UAE.