The failure to observe the most basic traffic rules is killing hundreds of people a year in the UAE.

Speeding, erratic driving and tailgating have caused the majority of traffic deaths on the roads of Abu Dhabi. These were the findings of a study commissioned by the Ministry of Interior.

The latest results reveal that driving laws that are observed in other countries - such as maintaining a proper distance between cars, stopping at red lights and using indicators - are often flouted here.

In April, ministry officials acknowledged that the number of basic traffic violations was high and still increasing, with the number of reported offences reaching a staggering 1.91 million nationwide last year.

The ministry's research team, which is working on the first phase of a project to develop a reliable accident management system, has determined that the majority of accidents occurs on six-lane highways, followed by four-lane roads and roundabouts.

The figures come from accident records between 1999 and 2001 in Abu Dhabi.

The team is led by Yaser E. Hawas, associate research professor for highways and transport engineering, and Sulaiman Ashur, assistant professor of traffic and transportation engineering from the civil and environmental engineering department of UAE University. Ala'a Mohammad is working with the two scientists as a research assistant.

"The objective of the analysis is to quantify the number of accidents at intersections, and point out the road characteristics that might increase the chances of accidents," a spokesman for the researchers said.

The analysis indicated that 35.6 per cent of accidents occurred on external highways.
About 13 per cent of accidents took place in shopping areas.

The majority of accidents, 63.6 per cent, happened on straight sections of road at least 20 metres from intersections, and 12.7 per cent of accidents occurred in the vicinity of the intersection.

The analysis also showed that unpredictable driving manoeuvres resulted in 31.8 per cent of accidents and failure to keep a safe distance from other vehicles was to blame in 11.8 per cent, while 10.4 per cent were caused by jumping red lights. Seven per cent of crashes were due to speeding.

The report said the UAE population has increased by 69 per cent in the last ten years, and the number of registered vehicles has increased by several times.

Dubai's most dangerous roads Accidents Deaths
1 Emirates Ring Road 12 12
2 Shaikh Zayed Road 10 10
3 Al Khaleej Road 3 4
4 Bani Yas Road 3 4
5 Hatta Road 3 3
6 Dubai - Al Ain Road 3 3
7 Shaikh Zayed Service Road 3 3
8 Ras Al Khor 3 3
9 Zabeel Road 3 3
10 Life Regency intersection 2 2
And how this compares to last year
1 Dubai - Al Ain Road 21 24
2 Emirates Ring Road 17 17
3 Shaikh Zayed Road 16 16
4 Shaikh Rashid Road 7 8
5 Al Ittihad Road 6 8
6 Al Wasl Road 6 7
7 Al Quoz industrial area 6 6
8 Al Rasheed Road 6 6
9 Hatta Road 5 5
10 Al Nahda Road 4 5