Dubai: Hotels will have a role to play in reducing the alarmingly increasing road fatalities caused by driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), Dubai Police's Traffic Department has said.
Police will be coordinating with the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing to educate hotel personnel on how to deal with visitors who appear to be under the influence of alcohol.
"Hotel staff will be instructed to make sure a guest or visitor is stable, both mentally and physically, before handing over his car and allowing him to drive away," said Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Director of Dubai Police's Traffic Department.
If the guest appears unfit to drive, the hotel staff will call a taxi to make sure he does not cause an accident.
"Sometimes even pedestrians under the influence of alcohol cause accidents because they lose their balance and focus and can cross the road without ensuring that it is clear or even cross a highway," Maj Gen Al Zafein said.
"Eleven people died this year in accidents caused by DUI compared to only three deaths during the same period last year and a total of four in 2010," he said.
Some 258 accidents were caused by DUI until the end of September this year, compared to 385 last year. This year 56 people were injured including six who were severely injured and 16 moderately.
In the first nine months of 2010, 64 people were injure, one sustaining severe injuries, and 19 were moderately injured.
Technology like smartphones is not to be blamed for fatal traffic accidents, Maj Gen Al Zafein said, because people can get distracted for many other reasons.
"Before BlackBerry service was introduced in the UAE, we had 332 road deaths in Dubai at the end of 2007, whereas we only have 95 so far this year, which means we can't put the blame on smartphones in particular," he said.
People could be seen reading newspapers, applying makeup, eating and drinking or even watching television while driving, which are all equally dangerous distractions from the road and traffic, according to Maj Gen Al Zafein.
A driver can be absent-minded even without doing any of that, and the classic example is when a driver is second in line waiting to enter a roundabout.
"He keeps his focus on the roundabout traffic and once it's clear, he steps on the pedal without ensuring that the car in front of him has moved, and ends up rear-ending that car," he said.
Two people died and three sustained injuries in three separate accidents in the past two days, raising the number of road fatalities in Dubai to 97 this year.
In an accident, a vehicle hit an Asian pedestrian at 8pm on Saturday on the Business Bay road behind The Dubai Mall. The car dragged the man under its wheels causing serious injuries that resulted in his death.
At 2.50am a car hit a motorcycle in International City which resulted in the rider sustaining severe injuries, while at 6am two vehicles collided on Dubai Bypass Road in the Jebel Ali zone, which resulted in the death of one of the drivers and injury to two passengers. The deceased and injured were all Emiratis.