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Mon 5 Jan 2009 07:03 AM

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12% fall in Abu Dhabi road casualties

Police chiefs say improvement is down to tougher laws, points system for offenders.

The number of people killed or seriously injured in traffic incidents in Abu Dhabi fell 12 per cent last year, latest figures reveal.

The decrease was attributed by police chiefs to tougher laws introduced last March, including a points system of penalties for motoring offences.

According to the police statistics, 738 people died or were seriously injured in road accidents to the end of November last year, down from 839 in the comparable period of 2007, UAE daily The National reported on Monday.

Casualties among Emiratis fell by 23 per cent, from 262 in 2007 to 201 in 2008, while the decrease among expats was 12 per cent, from 607 to 537.

Col Hamad Adil al-Shamsi, head of the Abu Dhabi Police traffic and patrols department, told the paper: “The adjustments to the traffic law had a positive impact on decreasing the rate of casualties, which enhances the effectiveness of the five-year road safety strategic plan that aimed to decrease deaths and serious injuries by 20 per cent."

Under the new system, motorists face higher fines and risk car and licence confiscation for some offences and a certain number of black points.

He added: “We increased traffic inspection campaigns and patrols to catch violations such as dangerous overtaking of other vehicles, crossing red signals...Many fines were issued, for safety reasons and not for the goal of fining people.”

Police confiscated 982 driving licences in the emirate from motorists who had exceeded the 24-point limit since the point system was introduced, the Arabic newspaper Emarat al Youm reported.

The new statistics show that traffic casualties among those aged under 18 decreased from 111 in 2007 to 93 in the first 11 months of 2008. Among those aged 18 to 30, cases dropped from 337 to 312.

Among those 31 to 45, the number fell from 273 to 212 and for those 46 to 60, cases fell from 119 to 101.

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