Dubai Police embarked on a mission last year to reduce the number of fatalities caused by road accidents to zero per 100,000 population by 2020. Image Credit: Karen Dias/Gulf News

Dubai: Road accidents and injuries are costing the economy Dh20 billion annually, according to recent research findings.

According to a recent research by the Roadway, Transportation and Traffic Safety Research Centre (RTTSRC) the UAE suffers about 10,000 crashes annually, resulting in 2.7 fatalities per day.

These figures represent the loss to economy in terms of loss of human lives and property and productivity losses. However, by any estimation the loss of human life that cannot be properly calculated in terms of pain, suffering, tragedy and sorrow.

The research, which was announced during the Gulf Engineering Forum, also revealed that traffic congestion is costing the UAE Dh10.5 billion annually and is considered one of the major challenges to road transportation.

"On an average, the UAE has a relatively high percentage of vehicles per person and a low dependency on public transport; these increase the challenges of congestion in the country," Eisa Al Maidour, Assistant Director for Engineering and Planning at Dubai Municipality, said in a statement.

Decrease in fatalities

In contrast, Dubai Traffic Police reported a significant decrease in road fatalities.

According to Dubai Police annual reports, road fatalities have decreased 32 per cent. In 2009 Dubai Police reported 225 traffic fatalities but the number decreased to 153 during full year 2010. Dubai Police statistics also show that in 2009, 12.7 deaths occurred per 100,000 people, but the number decreased to eight fatalities per 100,000 people in 2010.

Dubai Police embarked on a mission last year to reduce the number of fatalities caused by road accidents to zero per 100,000 population by 2020, according to the strategic plan for traffic safety.

The mission was an initiative introduced by Police Chief Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim to make Dubai roads among the safest in the world.

"We aim to achieve zero fatalities from road accidents by 2020; this is no doubt an ambitious target," said Major General Saif Al Zafein, Director General of Dubai Traffic Police.