Reading from India, The National online the reports of the horrific accident that happened in Abu Dhabi – Dubai highway and then the new control measures initiated by Abu Dhabi police ( No more 160kph on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai motorway - The National Dt. 11.03.2011) reminded me of the pile up that happened in October 2008.
At various times between these two periods, the press and authorities have fore-warned the road users of the dangers that prevail in this sector during bad weather days. It is a very dangerous situation on this particular stretch from Abu Dhabi to Dubai when visibility is less due to fog or sand storm.
Drivers forget the basics and continue speeding even they are well aware of the danger behind such an act.
What is more strange is the fact that even during good weather days the driving habits are no different. In fact on 26th March, on my way to Mafraq hospital at 6:00 am, I witnessed 3 near misses from speeding cars, exiting the Eastern ring road from Abu Dhabi to Dubai before the 23rd street and after it (where there is a fixed camera which works all the time). These cars are mostly driven by night shift staff returning to their homes away from Abu Dhabi.
The scene was no different and speed no less, nearer to the Mafraq hospital roundabout, closer to 08:00 am as I witnessed staff speeding to reach the hospital before an 08:00 am start, particularly nearer to the roundabout close to the hospital. Could the hospital authorities kindly make a note of this impending dangerous situation which can turn nasty on any given day.
These scenes and experiences clearly convince that police and transport authorities are helpless even if they introduce progressive measures like LED signage, modern speed cameras etc to control speeding and avert dangers on the road.
The onus remains on organizations and individuals to educate the after effect of such a man-made calamity. Congratulations to Abu Dhabi authorities for constantly monitoring the situation and making changes as necessary for averting road calamities. Those traffic violators who speed ignoring the safety of fellow road users should be given compulsory community service at emergency and trauma units of major hospitals.
Safety is not a one time activity. It is a 24x7x365 activity for all to make sure no such incident happen again on our roads.
I also suggest THE NATIONAL to start the road safety campaign once again in co-ordination with the police and road transport departments.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
Monday, 11th April 2011