Dubai may cut driving speed limit on roads

Plan is part of long-term strategy for zero deaths on roads

Dubai is considering reducing speed limit on its roads within its 2020 traffic strategy targeting zero deaths by curbing serious accidents, the emirate’s traffic chief was reported on Saturday as saying.

The region’s business and tourism hub could also halve the grace speed limit given to motorists on most of its roads as part of that strategy, which aims to put Dubai on par with advanced nations in terms of road safety.

“There are some measures that have to be taken in order to remove all obstacles that block the full implementation of the road safety strategy,” Major General Mohammed Al Zafin told the Sharjah-based Arabic language daily Alkhaleej.

“Grace speed limits of 20 km have to be cut to 10 km as this will reduce speed on roads and cut accidents by 25 per cent…speed limits of 100 km on roads where there are pedestrian crossings have to be reduced to 70 km with a grace speed of 10 km…this means the maximum limit must be 80 km.”

Zafin said the 120-km speed limit on external roads should also be cut to 110 km, adding that such a step would lead to a 10-15 per cent drop in mishaps.

“The measures should also include forcing passengers to use sea belt in the back seats as this will reduce injury rates by nearly 10 per cent.”

Zafin said the emirate’s traffic strategy has already paid off as the road death rate has steadily been cut since 2007 to reach 152 in 2010, a rate of 4.5 persons for every 100,000. “This is a positive indicator…although we are sorry for the deaths, we have become certain the strategy is moving in the right direction,” he said.

Zafin said speed limit changes became imperative after a police report showed all accidents were caused by drivers. “We have not received one single report blaming the road for any mishap…that is why we have to target the drivers in our strategy… this can be done only through the police system, which possesses the necessary tool to deter drivers.”

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