Abu Dhabi: Despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) predicting a rise in road deaths internationally by 67 per cent by 2020, the UAE Ministry of Interior (MoI) remains optimistic, and predicts a reduction in UAE road deaths in the next three years, affecting as little as one per 100,000 residents.

The MoI's three-year strategy plan, however, requires journalists in every newspaper, radio and television station, to join hands in raising community awareness regarding road and traffic safety measures.

This was agreed by senior police officials during a two-day international symposium titled: "The role of media in traffic safety."

Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Chief of Dubai Police, said: "Up to 90 per cent of road accidents are related to poor driving behaviours. If we manage to control and modify the behaviours of drivers through awareness campaigns, and constant education, we can reach zero road and traffic fatalities. A role that the media can help us achieve," he said.

In 2010, there were 4.56 per 100,000 car-related accident fatalities reported in Dubai.

In Abu Dhabi, the MoI reduced accident fatalities by 1.5 per 100,000 UAE residents in 2010, according to Amina Al Saadi, a researcher in the directorate-general of traffic coordination at the MoI.

Bob Joop Goos, chairman of the international organisation for road accident prevention, praised the UAE's aggressive road safety initiative. "In the last five to six years an international road safety conference has been organised in Abu Dhabi in efforts to curb road accidents. There are 1.3 million road accidents every year internationally, with over 50 million people seriously injured, and 3,000 daily fatalities.

"Dangers on the road is a mandate crisis, and the biggest public health problem internationally reported. I strongly advise representatives of the media and governments to join efforts in preventing road accidents from happening."

The United Nations has proclaimed 2011 to 2020 as the decade for action for road safety. "This decade aims to half [the number of] road victims by 2020, meaning avoiding five million traffic deaths, 50 million injuries and saving $3 trillion. We are building an alliance on road safety with the UN, and I highly recommend the UAE join us in our efforts," he concluded.

The Role of media in traffic safety is vital, agreed a room full of police experts in a two day international symposium, which kicked off yesterday + pictures by Ahmed Kotty


There has been a reduction in road injuries by 26.74 per cent from 2008 to 2010

Year 2008

  • 10,135 accidents
  • 12,150 injuries
  • 1,071 deaths

Year 2009

  • 9,658 accidents
  • 11,543 injuries
  • 966 deaths

Year 2010

  • 7,615 accidents
  • 9,032 injuries
  • 826 deaths

Source: UAE Ministry of Interior