U.A.E. : Speed Limit on National Highways increased
NEWS FROM THE U.A.E.
New speed limit devoid of margin
Abu Dhabi: 22 May 2005 - The speed limit on two major highways in the emirate has been increased from 120km/h to 160 km/h for a trial period of six months.
The trial speed limit on the Abu Dhabi-Al Ain and Abu Dhabi-Sieh Shuwaib highways started yesterday.
The move was announced last week by Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Interior Minister.
However, those crossing the new speed limit will be fined without any grace limit. Earlier, a grace limit of 20km/h was given to motorists before they were fined.
The new rule, according to an Abu Dhabi-based Arabic daily, was issued under the instructions of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in response to complaints by motorists about the increasing number of radars on main highways and suggestions to increase the maximum speed limit to match the emirate's wide and spacious roads.
Those crossing the 160km/h will be fined without any grace limit.
The increased speed limits applies to these two highways only. Speed limits on other highways, according to the ministry, remain unchanged.
This, according to the Interior Ministry, also comes as part of a survey to help improve the country's road networks in an effort to reduce the number of accidents and casualties.
The ministry has assigned the Swedish National Institute for Roads and Communications Research to carry out a road development project over the next six months.
The institute will carry out special surveys and research studies on all the country's major roads. The survey will include the average speeds of vehicles on different roads and the number of accidents and casualties on particular roads.
After completion of the six-month trial, new speed limits will be imposed following the results of the survey.
After analysing the results and comparing them with previous annual reports, the institute will suggest a specific maximum speed limit for each road, according to its size, the number of vehicles which travel on it, and the number of accidents reported on it.
According to Abu Dhabi Traffic and Licensing Department, 142 people were killed and 2,416 injured in road accidents in the city and its suburbs last year.
The figures show 55 of the people who lost their lives were aged between 18 and 20 years, this was followed by 47 deaths among the 31 to 45 year age group.
However, the report shows a drop of 24 per cent in deaths, from 186 in 2003 to 142 last year.
It also shows a drop of 22 per cent in the number of accidents last year compared to 2003. The 2,558 casualties, according to the report, were caused by 445 accidents.
The number of injuries also dropped from 3,148 in 2003 to 2,416 last year, showing a decrease of 23.3 per cent. The number of injuries among the youth age group was 1,057 last year, compared to 1,400 in 2003, showing a decrease of 343 injuries.
Traffic department statistics also show 177 serious injuries last year as compared to 201 in 2003 and 919 moderate injuries last year compared to 965 in 2003.
In 2002, more than 350 people died and 4,856 were injured in road accidents in Abu Dhabi.
According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, about 1.2 million people are killed on roads around the world every year and up to 50 million more are injured.