Reckless driving is a major problem as a new scientific study finds it is responsible for 45 per cent of accidents on Abu Dhabi streets.

Careless drivers are the second biggest threat as researchers found they were involved in more than 2,000 accidents 21 per cent of the total number.

A report on the research project, which was recently read at the sixth Annual Research Conference of UAE University, also pointed out problems in the level of services in the study area, which was downtown Abu Dhabi.

The levels of service, according to the study, include the quality measures that describe the operational conditions within a traffic stream. These measures include speed and travel time, freedom to manoeuvre and comfort and convenience.

"The result of the study shows a major failure in the level of service in the study area," the researchers said.

A three-member team of scientists Suleiman Ashur and Yaser Hawas from the College of Engineering at UAE University, and Kareem Al Bassioni from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada conducted the study.

The team studied the accident data from 1999 to 2001 for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, during which 15,306 car accidents were reported. The research also focused on the level of service for a selected traffic network in the city.

Saturday was found to be the most dangerous day in terms of the number of accidents. The study found that 2,889 accidents were reported on this day of the week, followed by Sunday and Wednesday.

The researchers highlighted the need to study traffic management to find ways and methods to improve the level of service in the study area.

"More light will be shed on some option during the second phase of the study," the report said.

The study recommended maintaining tighter control on speed limits and on young drivers as well as educating motorists on the use of seatbelts. Child and pedestrian safety issues must also be looked at more carefully.

"Drivers and passengers," the researchers said, "must be educated about traffic safety and the consequences of reckless driving."