View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Road Safety in the U.A.E.

The National Campaign for Traffic Safety Awareness has recently concluded its special week (25 February-2 March 2007).

In the publicity drive it highlighted the alarming statistics for the year 2006:

11551 injuries and deaths on U.A.E. roads
17 deaths on our roads weekly
875 accidents deaths in 2006 [I am unsure what this means.]

The posters also featured graphic pictures of children distressed by carnage on the road with the caption, “Have mercy on their tears.”

It is heartening for campaign organizers and those charged with improving road safety to see the statistics released this week by the Ministry of Interior. The article in the Khaleej Times entitled, Fall in Road Accidents, reported an overall decrease in U.A.E. road accidents from 2005 to 2006 of 15.18% with a corresponding decrease of 4.78% in the number of persons injured in road accidents. The figures are moving in the right direction as road safety measures are implemented.

Road safety awareness must be more than a one week blitz and it would be useful to highlight different aspects throughout the year.

Some countries offer online tests of the road laws to keep people aware and up to date.

I recently visited the Ministry of Interior: Traffic and Licensing department in Fujairah seeking more information on our road rules. They did not have any copies of the Road Laws (Road Code) in English and they sent me across the road to the Fujairah National Driving Training Institute, who only offered a brochure illustrating the different road signs.

In view of the multicultural nature of drivers on U.A.E. roads it would be helpful to produce the Road Code in the major languages of the country both in booklet form and as a digital download from the Internet.

Geoff Pound

Image: One of the posters used in the 2007 National Campaign for Traffic Safety Awareness week.