Pedestrians cross the busy Najda Street in Abu Dhabi. According to a police report, there were 24 pedestrian deaths during the first three months of this year as compared to 32 deaths for the corresponding period of 2010. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News archive

Abu Dhabi: An aggressive plan is under way in the next eight months to help reduce the number of pedestrian casualties by 50 per cent, announced the Abu Dhabi police in a press meeting on Thursday.

The Abu Dhabi police will watch the streets for any jaywalking violations in the next few months through random inspections in Abu Dhabi, said Colonel Jamal Salem Al Ameri, Manager of Customer Service Centre at the UAE Ministry of Interior — Abu Dhabi police headquarters.

He said police will instantly issue a fine of Dh200 to jaywalkers, as per traffic law number 21 for 1995.

The pedestrian campaign initiative kicked off in the beginning of 2011, however active enforcement will be implemented through a newly organised committee at the ministry who, according to Engr Abdul Razzaq Zaytoun, Traffic Engineering Adviser at the Traffic and Patrols Directorate, has implemented strategies two months ago, to help curb the number of pedestrian deaths.

Clear text

"The committee has discussed increasing the number of safety billboards in streets, as well as making sure that the text on those sign posts are clear and readable for pedestrians and motorists. Our second mission is to increase awareness with regard to traffic regulations," said Zaytoun.

According to a police report, there were 24 pedestrian deaths during the first three months of 2011 as compared to 32 deaths for the corresponding period of 2010.

"The decline is encouraging, however we hope that through our campaign on road safety measures and regulations, the community will be more careful. Our police officers will be rigid on violations, by making sure jaywalkers stick to designated zebra crossings, bridges and underground crossings. In the next eight months we will work hard — day by day, week by week, month by month, to reach our target," said Colonel Al Ameri.

Up to 70 per cent of pedestrian deaths occur among Asians, said the Colonel. "We feel that this is because the Asian community is not familiar with our street regulations. That's why part of our campaign will consist of presentations on street safety measures, across companies, schools and universities.


"We'll also publish awareness reports on the dos and don'ts for pedestrians, through newspapers, radio and television as well as through various websites [Facebook and twitter]," he said.

Speaking about the vehicle death toll in 2010, First Lieutenant Hamdan Hasan Mohammad Bin Thayban, Responsible for Media Affairs Unit at the General Directorate for Policing Operations at the Traffic and Patrols Directorate, said that up to 77 per cent of accident deaths occur among cars of civilians; ten per cent among trucks, and six per cent among rental cars.

"We found that 25 per cent of accidents happen between 6 and 9 pm; 20 per cent of accidents happen between 3 and 6 pm, some of the reasons being lack of concentration, usage of mobile phones or radio cassettes while driving; jumping red traffic lights, and speeding; 79 per cent of accidents occur on highways, and about six per cent on side streets," said First Lieutenant Bin Thayban.

Speed limit set at 140

Starting on Sunday, the speed limit from Sas Al Nakheel Bridge (in Abu Dhabi) to Saih Al Shoieb (leading to Dubai) will be fixed at 140 km per hour.

Fact file

Following are the number of pedestrian deaths in each region of the emirate in the first three months of the year

In 2010

Abu Dhabi: 25

Al Ain: 7

Western Region: 0

In 2011

Abu Dhabi: 14

Al Ain: 8

Western Region: 2

Source: Ministry of Interior