Abu Dhabi: The Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) has invested Dh3.6 million in a road safety project to help reduce the number of fatal car accidents across the emirate.

The project will involve an in-depth analysis of fatal and severe road accidents.

It is a shared initiative between HAAD and the UAE University (UAEU).

A total of 200 fatal or serious accidents per year, over a period of three years, will be investigated to identify reasons for the accidents and ways to improve safety.

The study will look at factors such as road design, weather conditions, visibility, car engineering, accident impact and the use of seat belts to find ways to improve safety.

Medical data and accident reports will also be investigated.

Dr. Jens Thomsen, environmental consultant for health at HAAD, said the aim of the study is to find the root causes of accidents.

Assisting HAAD in gathering the data will be a group of eight investigators from the UAEU, including forensic engineers, researchers, nurses, specialists in paramedics and specialists in road transportation.

"The goal of this project is to get an understanding of the risk factors that lead to car accidents, and to help people avoid accidents by providing education and creating awareness," said Mohammad Al Seddiqi from the department of community medicine at the UAEU.

Much research has been done into the causes of road accidents recently, especially since the fatal 200-car Ghantoot pile-up in March that killed four people.

The Emirates Institute for Health and Safety said yesterday at a symposium road accidents are the second major cause of deaths in the UAE.

There has been an increase of 16.8 per cent in the road death toll from 2006 (878 deaths) to 2007 (1,056 deaths).