Tyres screech. Muffled Yell. Thud
Radars, fines, police patrol and even free meals but the accident situation is not getting any better
August 2, 2012 11:00 by M. Aldalou
One of the few sights that is bound to stick with you, possible giving you a new found respect for life, is the sight of a heavy car accident happening before your eyes. Yes, that was Kipp’s morning, but to become absorbed with such an isolated incident would be selfish. Because, according to Dubai Police reports, two people have died in the past 3 days and in an extreme accident on Sunday morning, 1 person was killed while 14 others sustained injuries. That’s just the beginning.
Before the start of Ramadan, the police authorities were spreading the pleading campaign of caution, particularly to observers, to drive extra safely on the roads. In fact, anytime you search for ‘Dubai’ or ‘Accident’ you are bound to see endless streams of daily news and updates on more and more traffic accidents, violations and fatalities.
Police reports have shown that since the start of Ramadan (two weeks) there have been over 3,600 road accidents over a terrifyingly short period. Over the last few years over 4,000 thousand lives were lost due to traffic accidents and while Dubai Police have come from every corner with various initiatives to curb the reckless driving habit, it has momentarily decreased at some points but always bounced back up. Short of sitting in the car with drivers and holding the steering wheel for them; they have done almost everything imaginable.
The traffic situation in the city has reached such a detrimental stage, that police officers have been dispatched to offer free meals to drivers before ‘Iftar’, in hopes that it would calm their need for speed. Yes you read it right, free meals. When did society reach a point where we needed pacifiers in our mouth to remain calm or receive a bribe to care for our own safety? Dubai is a city of accomplishments yes, but is still (geographically) a tiny piece of land and despite that, Sheikh Zayed road has one of the highest accident rates of any other road in the world. Several years ago, it was ranked third in the world.
To label the fatal traffic situation in the city as an epidemic would be an understatement and every accident is sent down a different silk string of the spider web. The tens and tens of accidents happening daily are currently being linked to the Iftar and Ramadan rush, but what about the countless ones before that? The other days of the year certainly aren’t anymore merciful.
There are millions of dollars worth of state-of-the-art radars splattered on all major roads in Dubai, there are speed bumps, additional patrol cars, strict fines and confiscation rules, and yet, the situation does dilute at times but never fades to a humanly acceptable level.
Whether it is the simple theory of the compression of bad drivers into one small area, or just the fast-paced “My schedule is more important than yours” lifestyle but something has got to be done, Kipp hopes.