AD police to set up 500 new speed cameras

Plan is intended to curb reckless driving and reduce accidents

Abu Dhabi traffic police are planning to install 500 new speed cameras to support an already massive speed detection network on the emirate’s internal and external roads within an ongoing plan to curb accidents.

The emirate currently has nearly 160 fixed speed cameras while scores of tiny mobile devices are concealed among trees and in grass in the middle of key roads to hunt for speedsters. Besides, authorities have just completed a project to install over 700 video cameras through the capital’s streets, allowing police and the municipality to continuously monitor traffic.

Police data showed 3,389 cars were caught exceeding the speed limit in Abu Dhabi in June and most of them were hunted by mobile cameras known as “Qannas” an Arabic equivalent to hunter or sniper.

“There are plans now to install nearly 500 new speed cameras in the emirate including fixed and mobile cameras,” the Arabic language daily Emirat Alyoum said on Wednesday, quoting Lt Colonel Yaslam al Tamimi, deputy director of road safety at the Abu Dhabi police.

“These devices are aimed at deterring reckless drivers, especially those who largely exceed the speed limit, with the aim of curbing accidents which sometimes result in deaths and serious injuries.”

He said the new cameras would be planted on internal roads and motorways linking Abu Dhabi to Dubai and other emirates and towns.

Abu Dhabi has been locked in successive drives to crackdown on traffic offenders after a surge in offences that have resulted in hundreds of casualties. The campaigns also included an increase in police patrols on roads.

Abu Dhabi, which has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, also has one of the highest road accident rates. Police sources have attributed the high accident rate to non-compliance with traffic rules, mainly speed driving, jumping the red signal, reckless driving and other offences.

Introduction of stiffer penalties, installation of more speed cameras, and reinforcement of police patrols have failed to deter drivers and cut accident rates, which totalled around 10,500 in Abu Dhabi and the other emirates in 2009.

Interior ministry figures showed a daily average of 29 road mishaps occurred in the UAE in 2009, resulting in the death of 1,071 people during the year. More than half of them were Asian workers and 251 were UAE nationals.

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