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 inDubai.
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 FatalAccidents, along with this reduction we need to change drivers attitudeto 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 emergencyline he thinks he is smarter then others, we need to change thisattitude.

  • Dennis

    Aug 15, 2013 7:11

    Standard speed of 120 is not causing accidents. The ones going past uslike bullets when we are already driving at the maximum speed are theones to be concerned about. Every driver using mobiles, being carelessmust 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 andmore-so Minibuses pull onto the hard shoulder and allow passengers toget off ??? Instant fines for drivers of vehicles and fine thepedestrians too. Years ago fences were erected along the sides of manymajor roads to prevent camels from crossing the road ..... time to dothe same for ignorant pedestrians ??? And think how traumatic it is forthe 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 changelanes at will, speak on phones while driving...etc as compared tospeeding. To curb this one has cancel driving licences of such driverswhenever they are found doing so because these drivers are risking livesof innocent people on roads. Many of them are happy to pay fines ifcaught and are back to the groove in the same old driving fashion thevery next day. I request the authorities to seriously consider cancelinglicences of serious traffic offences to make the UAE roads safer for usand for our loved ones.

  • Mohammed Usman

    Aug 15, 2013 5:21

    I think reducing speed will not make any difference but slow down thework schedule. Important is that the existing speed limit MUST bestrictly monitored without any grace limit. Also the driver responsiblefor the accident should be sent to the driving school again for propertraining. Also I have seen Taxi drivers changing lines unnecessary anddriving very dangerously. RTA should have a study on taxi drivers and dothe 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 theaccidents are caused by drivers' carelessness. I have recently had anaccident which caused by other drivers. I was on the fast lane at 100and 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 anysignal with a speed less than my vehicle. I applied my brakes to avoidthis incident to a narrow escape but the driver from the back hit mycar, damaging the full back part of my vehicle. The driver who changedthe lane out of a sudden rushed away from the scene. I hardly see policearound to watch the vehicles vigilantly. There are terrible drivers whothreaten the lives of others by not changing the lanes using appropriatedistance and signaling and keeping the lights on in the daylight so thateverybody clears the road for them and park their car off road. I wishthere was some day I am not afraid to be on roads due to these movingkilling machines.

  • Rio

    Aug 15, 2013 3:56

    We have the tallest building in the world and many other world recordsand I am proud to live in Dubai with its vibrant beat. What I wouldrecommend is more usage of cameras in the city especially monitoringmotorways, metros, crowded shopping areas and so on. This will not onlyhelp stop traffic violations but crime in general as wrong doers shouldreceive 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 andinexperienced ones. I can safely control my car at 100. I have zeroaccident in my about 400,000 km in the UAE over 15 years. To be askedto drive at 40 or 60 adds to un-necessary traffic jam. The new Ittihadtunnel is an example. 40 kmph ! There should be a system which allowssafe, 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 takeadvantage of these good roads. I experience bad driving behaviors fromsome drivers almost everyday. Tailgating is one of the most dangerousamong all issues. These drivers think that everyone should use the20Km/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 tendto get angry & overtake vehicle in a very highly dangerous way.Thisis happening even when I use right side track or when the other tracksare empty. Therefore, I request the authorities to put an end to thisextra 20 Km/Hr tolerance speed in all roads, which will make Dubai roadsmuch more safe & pleasant. Thank you.

  • Adel

    Aug 15, 2013 3:37

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

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Latest Comment

Definitely speed limit reduction will help in reducing the FatalAccidents, along with this reduction we need to change drivers attitudeto 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 emergencyline he thinks he is smarter then others, we need to change thisattitude.


15 August 2013 19:30jump to comments