Dubai: Road users survived New Year celebrations without a single serious accident despite the heavy traffic congestion, the Dubai Police Traffic Department said on Monday.
The city, although alight with fireworks, remained quiet when it came to security, with no burglaries or any major incidents reported. A fight between two people was the only incident reported, and it was resolved promptly, according to a senior police official.
From 6pm on December 31 until 2am on January 1, there were 264 reports of minor traffic accidents with no one injured.
The first accident of the year was reported at 8.30am on Sunday, when a 21-year-old Emirati driver hit a road barrier and his saloon car overturned on Al Khail road, causing him severe injuries, said Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Director of the Traffic Department at Dubai Police.
"Coordination between all concerned bodies in Dubai for New Year celebrations resulted in a considerable drop in the number of incidents reported," he said, adding that allocating parking spaces for cars near celebration areas and providing buses also helped.
Congestion is expected at this time of the year and happens in all cities, but the presence of security forces prevented any problems that could have occurred, Major General Al Zafein said.
"Around a million people attended the celebration near Burj Khalifa, and congestion was expected on Shaikh Zayed Road," he said, adding that blocking traffic was the most serious violation that police worked to combat.
"Some people decided to park their cars on the side of the road to watch the fireworks, which is something we will never allow as it affects the smooth flow of traffic, especially on Shaikh Zayed Road, DFC, Al Khail, and Business Bay roads." Drivers showed considerable commitment to traffic rules and no violations were registered on Jumeirah roads, where young people used to rally. "The strict measures taken against violators last year helped curb offences to a large extent," Major General Al Zafein said.
"After the end of the celebration, we were surprised to see a million people leave the venue and walk on the street, but there was not a single pedestrian run-over." Residents said that Dubai has become the hub of New Year celebrations with tourists coming from around the world to mark the day because it is so safe.
"I believe it is the safest destination when it comes to celebrating huge events like New Year," said Michalle J., a British tourist.
Brigadier Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Director-General of the Criminal Investigation Department at Dubai Police, said: "Security and traffic patrol presence during the celebrations was coordinated way ahead of the celebrations, while policemen were present inside hotels to ensure no problems during the night."
The arrangements were personally supervised by Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Chief of Dubai Police, and Major General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Deputy Chief of Dubai Police, he said.
The house security programme was activated to prevent burglaries with so many residents at parties or watching the fireworks, he said.