Dubai to review speed limits in bid to reduce road deaths

Traffic-related casualties show huge spike in the first seven months of 2013

Image Credit: Gulf News Archives
Mangled metal at the site where a car collided with a bus and caught fire on Emirates Road in Dubai.
49 Gulf News

Dubai: Due to the increase in the number of run-over incidents, Dubai Police and the Roads and Traffic Authority are considering reducing the speed limit on Dubai roads.

As the number of incidents involving people being run over continues to increase this year, Asian labourers remain the number one victims due to a lack of awareness, revealed Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Chief of the Dubai Police Traffic Department.

Major General Al Zafein told Gulf News that the number of deaths caused by people being run over in the last seven months has exceeded the number of deaths in the same period last year.

“Since the beginning of the year there has been 27 deaths caused by run-over incidents which is an increase from last year’s 24 deaths that occurred in the same period. In almost every single incident the victims are Asian labourers s who attempt crossing main roads like Shaikh Zayed Road and Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road,” said Major General Al Zafein.

“Not only has the number of run-over incidents increased this year but the number of deaths caused by road traffic accidents has increased as well.”

“There has been an improvement in the last five years in the number of deaths caused by road accidents in Dubai. However, this year, the numbers have increased noticeably. The number of people who died in road accidents in the first seven months of this year has increased to 101 from 64 for the same period last year.”

He added that the causes for the increase this year was because many of the accidents, especially the ones that occurred last month, resulted in the death of more than one victim per accident.

Another reason is because that all accidents that involve cars are considered road traffic incidents which in Major General Al Zafein’s opinion is a wrong representation of the total number of deaths. “This is because there are no laws or regulations in areas such as beaches and deserts that the drivers can break; hence they are not under the police’s jurisdiction,”

Major General Al Zafein added that though the number of deaths caused by road accidents has decreased in the last five years, deaths caused by run-over incidents never did.

“Run-over incidents remain a serious problem as the police issues yearly an average of 33,000 fines to those who cross the road from unauthorised and dangerous areas.”


Reducing the speed limit is a crucial aspect that Major General Al Zafein spoke about: “Reducing the speed limit is important and in my opinion would save lives because accidents are bound to happen; however the impact of the accident would be much less if the cars were travelling at a lower speed and instead of people dying they might, god forbid, sustain less severe injuries.”

Major General Al Zafein said that the Roads and Transport Authority is studying the matter of reducing speed limits on Dubai roads.

He also added that though the police department constantly holds awareness campaign in labour accommodations, labourers still cross the roads from unauthorised points. Therefore there is a need for employers’ support and cooperation with the police by providing labourers with buses to transport them to the other side of the road.

They should also help raise awareness about the consequences of crossing main roads from unauthorised points.

More pedestrian bridges should also be provided as well as higher fines in order to reduce these incidents.


  • Ramesh

    Aug 15, 2013 7:28

    Definitely speed limit reduction will help in reducing the Fatal Accidents, along with this reduction we need to change drivers attitude to break traffic laws and getaway with it. No body is above the law. When some body drives crazy with high speeds or drive on the emergency line he thinks he is smarter then others, we need to change this attitude.

  • Dennis

    Aug 15, 2013 7:11

    Standard speed of 120 is not causing accidents. The ones going past us like bullets when we are already driving at the maximum speed are the ones to be concerned about. Every driver using mobiles, being careless must be penalized. This will reduce the number of accidents.

  • David Woodward

    Aug 15, 2013 5:55

    Where in the world do you see 7 Lane Highways and where Taxis and more-so Minibuses pull onto the hard shoulder and allow passengers to get off ??? Instant fines for drivers of vehicles and fine the pedestrians too. Years ago fences were erected along the sides of many major roads to prevent camels from crossing the road ..... time to do the same for ignorant pedestrians ??? And think how traumatic it is for the driver how accidentally hits one of these people. Blood money ???

  • Agnel

    Aug 15, 2013 5:44

    I fee many accidents happen due to rash and unruly drivers who change lanes at will, speak on phones while driving...etc as compared to speeding. To curb this one has cancel driving licences of such drivers whenever they are found doing so because these drivers are risking lives of innocent people on roads. Many of them are happy to pay fines if caught and are back to the groove in the same old driving fashion the very next day. I request the authorities to seriously consider canceling licences of serious traffic offences to make the UAE roads safer for us and for our loved ones.

  • Mohammed Usman

    Aug 15, 2013 5:21

    I think reducing speed will not make any difference but slow down the work schedule. Important is that the existing speed limit MUST be strictly monitored without any grace limit. Also the driver responsible for the accident should be sent to the driving school again for proper training. Also I have seen Taxi drivers changing lines unnecessary and driving very dangerously. RTA should have a study on taxi drivers and do the needful so that we feel safe when we hire a taxi.

  • Kamran

    Aug 15, 2013 4:56

    It seems quite a folly to reduce the speed limit as most of the accidents are caused by drivers' carelessness. I have recently had an accident which caused by other drivers. I was on the fast lane at 100 and the driver at my back was so close to drive me away the lane. Suddenly the driver from the right lane changed the lane without any signal with a speed less than my vehicle. I applied my brakes to avoid this incident to a narrow escape but the driver from the back hit my car, damaging the full back part of my vehicle. The driver who changed the lane out of a sudden rushed away from the scene. I hardly see police around to watch the vehicles vigilantly. There are terrible drivers who threaten the lives of others by not changing the lanes using appropriate distance and signaling and keeping the lights on in the daylight so that everybody clears the road for them and park their car off road. I wish there was some day I am not afraid to be on roads due to these moving killing machines.

  • Rio

    Aug 15, 2013 3:56

    We have the tallest building in the world and many other world records and I am proud to live in Dubai with its vibrant beat. What I would recommend is more usage of cameras in the city especially monitoring motorways, metros, crowded shopping areas and so on. This will not only help stop traffic violations but crime in general as wrong doers should receive time that fits the crime if caught out. always be watching!

  • Jayaraj B

    Aug 15, 2013 3:53

    It is ridiculous to have same speed rules for experienced drivers and inexperienced ones. I can safely control my car at 100. I have zero accident in my about 400,000 km in the UAE over 15 years. To be asked to drive at 40 or 60 adds to un-necessary traffic jam. The new Ittihad tunnel is an example. 40 kmph ! There should be a system which allows safe, experienced drivers to be excluded from radar fines.

  • Arun K K

    Aug 15, 2013 3:45

    Dubai has a very nice & modern road system. But many people take advantage of these good roads. I experience bad driving behaviors from some drivers almost everyday. Tailgating is one of the most dangerous among all issues. These drivers think that everyone should use the 20Km/hr tolerance speed given to the specified speed limit. For example, even if the road is specified for 60 Km/Hr, they force you to go at 80. As I never try to increase the speed beyond the specified, people tend to get angry & overtake vehicle in a very highly dangerous way.This is happening even when I use right side track or when the other tracks are empty. Therefore, I request the authorities to put an end to this extra 20 Km/Hr tolerance speed in all roads, which will make Dubai roads much more safe & pleasant. Thank you.

  • Adel

    Aug 15, 2013 3:37

    In North America,Drivers who hit Pedestrians in unauthorized area will not be charged at all as it's not their responsibility. So each expat should receive Traffic Code on arrival.

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Latest Comment

Definitely speed limit reduction will help in reducing the Fatal Accidents, along with this reduction we need to change drivers attitude to break traffic laws and getaway with it. No body is above the law. When some body drives crazy with high speeds or drive on the emergency line he thinks he is smarter then others, we need to change this attitude.


15 August 2013 19:30 jump to comments