Statistics show 963 motorists were killed in traffic accidents across the UAE last year, while the toll was 1,072 in 2008. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Abu Dhabi: There has been a 10 per cent decline in road fatalities across the UAE last year compared to 2008, according to statistics released by police.

Statistics show 963 motorists were killed in traffic accidents across the UAE last year, while the toll was 1,072 in 2008. The decline has been attributed to strict enforcement of traffic law, especially the black points system and hefty fines.

According to latest country wide accident statistics, the total number of accidents and related injuries has dropped considerably.

"Traffic accidents claimed 963 lives last year. Fatalities declined by about 10 per cent as compared to 2008, when 1,072 were killed," said Colonel Gaith Hassan Al Za'abi, Director of the Traffic Department at the Ministry of Interior.

At a press conference on Tuesday, he said the ministry's strategy to curb road deaths is very much on track. As per Abu Dhabi Police's five-year strategy unveiled in 2008, the police aim to cut road fatalities by 20 per cent by 2012. "If the current positive trend can be maintained, hopefully, the target will be achieved ahead of time," he said.

Rate of deaths due to traffic accidents per 100,000 of the population was 15.8 in 2007, which fell to 13.3 in 2008 and further to 11.8 in 2009. "Our objective is to reduce this by 1.5 per cent annually." The total number of accidents dropped from 10,124 in 2008 to 8,612 in 2009, marking a 15 per cent decline.

Run over cases

While 11,082 people were left injured by traffic accidents in 2008, 10,391 were injured last year.

Notably, run over accidents, a problem the authorities were keen on tackling, have also declined significantly. "Run over cases declined from 1,694 cases in 2008 to 524 in 2009, a 24 per cent drop."

Colonel Al Za'abi said the reasons for decline in accidents are manifold. "The strict enforcement of the Federal Traffic Law, which was amended in 2008 to include the black point system and heftier fines for serious offences, is the primary cause."

"The severe penalties have successfully acted as a deterrent," Colonel Al Za'abi said. Other reasons include increased police patrolling and monitoring, alongside efficient issuance of traffic tickets and speed monitoring by radars, he said.

Also, the number of collisions came down 14 per cent going from 6,545 to 5,599 while roll over accidents came down by 13 per cent, from 1,169 to 1,013.

Meanwhile, the total number of traffic tickets issued rose by 905,337. "Fines issued for traffic violations increased from 4,387,791 in 2008 to 5,283,791 breach in 2009," he said.

Not leaving enough distance between vehicles was identified as the major cause of accidents last year that led to 547 accidents. Lack of concern for other drivers led to 542 crashes, not ensuring the road is clear before entering led to 531, and lack of lane discipline caused 324 crashes.

267 accidents were caused due to jumping the red signal, 148 due to reckless driving and 122 due to speeding, he said. Poor condition of tyres is also one of the causes, Al Za'abi said, urging motorists to abide by the regulations.

In figures: Traffic death toll

  • 878 in 2006
  • 1,056 in 2007
  • 1,072 in 2008
  • 963 in 2009

- Source: Ministry of Interior

How do you rate the quality of driving in the UAE? Have you noticed a decrease in the number of accidents on the road? Or have they increased?