Abu Dhabi: The life of a grade nine student, Abtahi Siddique, was changed forever on April 18, 2017, when he was hit by a speeding car at a pedestrian crossing in Abu Dhabi while on his way to a friend’s house to exchange notes to complete a school project. Since then he has been in a coma.
With wide-open eyes filled with tears, the 15-year-old boy now stares blankly at his family members from a hospital bed in the capital, unable to utter a word.
“My son was hit by a speeding car, while he was crossing the road from a designated pedestrian crossing in Musaffah on the outskirts of the capital,” the boy’s father, Siddique Ahmad, 44, from Bangladesh told Gulf News.
“It’s been almost two years but he is still in coma in an Abu Dhabi hospital. He can’t talk and only stares at us with his eyes open.
“The whole family is going through a very painful trial and we shuttle between the hospital and home,” added Ahmad, who has lived in Abu Dhabi for over 25 years and runs a restaurant in Mussafah.
The accident happened when Abtahi was going to a friend’s house to complete his homework. “But a speeding car hit him,” explained his father. “He was driving very fast and his speed could have been over 100km per hour, according to the police. While the speed limit on that particular road is 80 kmh.”
The accident happened at around 5pm in the afternoon.
“The driver hit my son on the leg and his body was catapulted in the air for a few metres before he landed head first on the windscreen of the car and rolled over. My son received serious head injuries and he slipped into a coma,” added the father.
When he was admitted to hospital, he was in stage 3 coma.
Now with the persistent efforts of doctors, his condition has started to improve and now he is in stage 6-7 coma but can only open his eyes, the father said.
“The doctors told me that when he reaches stage 10, he will be able to walk, he said.
Abtahi was a student of grade nine at Merryland International School in Musaffah and is the eldest of two sons. His brother is Abrar, 9.
The traumatised father and his family, who have been suffering for the past 23 months, are now urging motorists to respect pedestrians and stop when they cross the road.
Besides emotional trauma, the family is going through a financial crisis as well due to mounting hospital bills.
“It’s big burden on me,” added the dad. “Since the expenses have reached beyond my capacity, I gave an undertaking to the hospital that I would pay the bills after I receive a compensation from the court.”
He appreciated the support given by the hospital, but the case is still ongoing in Abu Dhabi Court, despite the Court of First Instance finding the motorist guilty and ordered to pay damages.
Rules of the road
The Directorate of Traffic and Patrols in the Central Operations Sector of Abu Dhabi Police, urges residents to use designated pedestrian crossings, bridges and tunnels to cross the road.
■ Motorists who do not give way to pedestrians at designated crossings can be fined Dh500 and given six black points. They will also get a Dh400 fine if they stop the vehicle in such a way that obstructs pedestrians at designated crossings.
■ Drivers have been requested to reduce speed near pedestrian crossings, near schools and other educational institutions and give way to pedestrians at the crossing, and also avoid stopping on the crossings.
■ Abu Dhabi Police have issued 50,695 fines to pedestrians who crossed the roads from non-designated areas in 2017, according to a police statistics released last year.
■ The number of violations and pedestrian deaths increased by 21 per cent in 2017, compared to 2016. As many as 63 pedestrians died after being knocked down by vehicles in 2017, compared to 50 in 2016.
■ Pedestrians who cross roads from non-designated areas get fined for Dh400.
In case of road traffic injuries, court compensations differ from case to case but it runs from hundreds and thousands into millions of dirhams. In the case of death, blood money of Dh200,000 is paid to the victim’s family.
In a recent and similar case, an insurance company was ordered by Dubai Courts to pay Dh1.5 million in compensation to a worker, who suffered permanent physical and mental disability following a car accident in March 2017.