UAE challenged to reduce road deaths further

Road deaths in the UAE have dropped significantly in the last decade according to a recent report from the World Health Organisation (WHO), but the government has been challenged to do more to reduce fatalities on the emirate’s roads.

The Global Status on Road Safety 2018 report published in early December says there are now almost three million cars on the UAE roads with cars and light vehicles making up the highest proportion of that figure. The research also highlights that such modes of transport, along with pedestrians, account for the largest number of deaths on the emirate’s roads.

Road deaths remain a significant killer

The number of deaths from road traffic accidents has fallen significantly in the last 10 years. There were 725 deaths from motoring accidents in 2016. Road fatalities have dropped from 17 per 100,000 people in the UAE in 2007 to just five a decade on but the WHO have challenged authorities to reduce that number further down to three.

The report, which takes a global view of road deaths, found that though the number of fatalities has increased across the world, the number has remained largely relative to population growth. The research also highlights that road traffic accidents remain the leading killer of young adults and children worldwide. Deaths on the roads are the eighth largest killer of people of all ages.

The challenge to the UAE

The research highlights that of all road traffic accidents in the UAE, three quarters of the victims are men. Proactive measures to combat drink driving, speeding and use of seat belts are recommended by the WHO but so too is a renewed focus on encouraging more people to use public transport.

The report revealed that the UAE is one of the toughest places in the world to clamp down on speeding and on enforcement of drink driving laws. Tailgaiting, failing to leave a safe distance to the car in front and driver error remain the major causes of deaths on the UAE roads.

The numbers of car owners in the UAE remains highest in the richer emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Fatalities on the roads remains a major reason that the UAE has a lower life expectancy than that in comparable countries.