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| 12 March, 2018

Dangerous driving on UAE roads on the decline

The perception of UAE motorists goes hand-in-hand with the remarkable reduction of traffic fatalities in 2017.

Image used for illustrative purpose.
Skyscrapers along Sheikh Zayed Road at sunset.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Skyscrapers along Sheikh Zayed Road at sunset.

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The UAE roads are becoming less dangerous, according to the latest survey by the UAE Road Safety Monitor. Despite the positive trends, "the absolute levels of perceived misbehaviour among road users are still high and more has to be done to raise awareness on road behaviour".

The study, commissioned by i-Insured and RoadSafetyUAE and conducted by YouGov in February, analysed the feedback of around 1,004 residents on road safety.

"The perception of UAE motorists goes hand-in-hand with the remarkable reduction of traffic fatalities in 2017, down by about 30 per cent against last year," according to the survey, which started in 2015 and now on its sixth cycle.

"The UAE motorists perceive less dangerous driving, less lane swerving, less tailgating, less speeding and less distracted driving on our roads," said Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE.

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"It seems that the ongoing hard work of all stakeholders like governmental entities, the media, corporations and platforms like RoadSafetyUAE have started bearing fruit," he added.

Explaining the survey to Khaleej Times, Edelmann said: "Does road safety improve in the UAE? What is the verdict of the traffic participants? Do we see improved behaviour on our roads? The answer is yes!

"This means all dimensions of dangerous driving decline, which is really good news," he added.

"Besides these positive trends, however, it must be noted that the absolute levels of perceived misbehaviour are still high. For example, with regards to 'distracted driving' we see a nine per cent reduction of respondents stating 'strongly agree' or 'agree' versus six months ago. The negative 9 per cent trend is great! However the absolute level is still high as 56 per cent of respondents 'strongly agree' or 'agree' to see more distracted motorists around them versus six months ago," Edelmann said.

RoadSafetyUAE earlier noted that eight out of 10 motorists don't use their indicators.

Frederik Bisbjerg, executive vice-president of Retail i-Insured, said: "Despite the positive trends, more needs to be done, as the absolute levels of perceived misbehaviour are still high. The dedicated work of all stakeholders must continue to educate the UAE's road users by creating more awareness."

Meanwhile, safe driving starts from proper training, Khalid Javed, senior instructor at Emirates Driving Institute, told Khaleej Times. "Quality driver training enhances the ability of the drivers to identify the hazards and respond positively to aggressive drivers and learn from their mistakes."

Highlights of the survey

The UAE motorists who took part in the YouGov survey said they have experienced a three per cent overall drop in dangerous driving in the past six months. In particular, lane swerving saw a decrease of 11 per cent; distracted driving nine per cent; speeding eight per cent; tailgating five per cent; involved in a collision one per cent and commute time 10 per cent.

On the negative side, driving enjoyment dropped by six per cent from 51 per cent in August 2017 to 46 per cent at present and improvement in traffic infrastructure declined by 10 per cent from 78 per cent six months ago to 68 per cent in March 2018.

Dubai resident Mohammad Faizal, who works as a bank executive, told Khaleej Times: "Every day, I spend at least four hours on the road doing client errands and oftentimes, I have to take a call. Good thing my phone is connected to my car via Bluetooth but I always see motorists driving and talking on their handsets. That's really very dangerous."

For motorcycle rider and Filipino expat Allan Manzano, his main concern is to educate all drivers to use their indicators when changing lanes. "It's just a simple thing to use the indicators but many drivers don't do that, making it hazardous and difficult for us (motorcycle riders) to anticipate where they are going."

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