Safety steps cut ME road casualties by half
Dubai, July 12, 2011
Traffic safety measures introduced in the Middle East over the last four years have reduced accident and casualty rates by between 30 to 50 per cent, a report said.
New research by global professional services company Towers Watson showed that in 2006/07 Dubai, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia had road fatality rates among the worst 10 in the world.
Since then steps taken to update traffic enforcement and regulations, while still in their infancy, have shown great promise in tackling the problem, the report said.
Towers Watson estimates that insurance payouts have been reduced by $160 million in the UAE alone.
Up to 2006/07 around a third of accidents that resulted in an insurance claim were found to be primarily the result of traffic violations such as excessive speeding, tail-gating and running red lights.
“At one point, road fatalities in the Middle East region were the second highest cause of death after heart disease, whereas in the US they don’t even appear in the top 10,” said Andy Staudt of Towers Watson who led the research.
“The result of widespread government intervention has been instrumental in saving lives and has led to significant insurance savings over the past several years,” he added.
Actions taken have included harsher regulations and stricter enforcement policies. Fines for most traffic violations have been increased and several police forces have also increased the number of patrols while introducing quotas and incentives to combat lax enforcement, the report said.
Traffic and speed cameras have become more common, speed limits have been revisited and reduced in many areas, and regulations for the use of hand-held mobiles and seat belts have been tightened.
Andy Staudt noted: “The measures introduced by governments are likely to stabilise the percentage of revenues that motor insurers payout in claims at up to 10 per cent below pre-2007 levels.” – TradeArabia News Service