A reduction in speed limit on two major roads in Dubai will be enforced from mid-October, officials have confirmed.
The maximum speed limit on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road will be reduced to 110 km/h from the current 120 km/h, under a decision taken by the Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Dubai Police.
The change will take effect from October 15. The radars will be reset at 131 km/h on the two roads.
The news was first revealed in late March, but no timeline was mentioned in terms of implementation.
Engineer Maitha bin Adai, CEO of Traffic and Roads Agency, RTA, said that the decision is mainly intended to curb traffic accidents resulting from over speeding, “especially as the two roads witness huge volumes of heavy vehicles traffic in both directions”.
The current capacity of the two roads is about 12,000 vehicles per hour per direction.
While 7,009 vehicles on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road heads towards Abu Dhabi (trucks account for 6 per cent of the vehicles), 7,821 vehicles head towards the direction of Sharjah of which trucks comprise 12 per cent.
On Emirates Road, statistics show that the capacity of the road in the direction of Abu Dhabi is 6,442 vehicles (6 per cent of them are trucks) while the number of vehicles heading to Sharjah is 3,416 (14 per cent of them are trucks).
According to Major General Eng. Advisor Mohammed Saif Al Zaffein, assistant commander-in-chief of Dubai Police, speed is a key contributing or associated factor at least 60 per cent of traffic road fatalities.
“The move is compatible with the Dubai Police strategy aimed at reducing traffic accidents to zero per cent per 100 of the population. During the first half of this year, the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road was the scene of 99 accidents resulting in six fatalities and 78 injuries. Last year, the Road saw 196 accidents resulting in 33 deaths and 249 injuries.
“As for Emirates Road, it witnessed 40 accidents during the first half of this year resulting in 10 fatalities and 75 injuries. Last year, the same Road saw 86 accidents involving 29 deaths and 147 injuries,” he said.
Maitha added: “Controlling the speed limits is one of the most effective measures of reducing traffic accidents. The procedure of controlling the speed limits is based on several criteria highlighted by the design speed of the road, and the actual speed observed by the majority of drivers,” said Maitha.
“It also rests on the extent of urbanisation on both roadsides, pedestrian traffic, availability of schools, mosques and other vital facilities. It also depends on the level of traffic accidents that took place on the road, traffic volume, and the high probability of serial accidents.”
The total number of traffic accidents in the UAE fell from 4,796 in 2015 to 4,788 in 2016.
However, the number of deaths caused by accidents rose by 7.4 per cent to 725 last year, compared to 675 in 2015. The total number of people injured also rose to 6,681 in 2016, up from 6,670 in 2015.
The RTA has been undertaking several initiatives to reduce traffic accidents and improve road safety.
In June, it began painting certain roads red in colour – an experimental basis – to indicate a drop in speed limit to drivers.
Maitha bin Adai, CEO of RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency, confirmed that the RTA is currently undertaking new plans for traffic safety covering drivers, vehicles and roads.
“As excessive speed causes 80 per cent of severe traffic accidents, associated factors were examined as well. So a study was commissioned for improving the locations witnessing speed reduction to alert drivers to be more attentive and reduce their speed to match the engineering design of the road, and avoid being caught by radars,” he said.