Slow drivers ‘not being fined’

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Slow drivers ‘not being fined’
By Ashfaq Ahmed, Chief Reporter and Alia Al Theeb, Staff Reporter GULF NEWS May 21, 2008

Dubai: Plans to implement a minimum speed limit on Dubai’s roads have gone down the drain because of friction between the authorities responsible for implementing the decision, Gulf News has learnt.

Early last year the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) introduced a minimum speed limit of 60 km/h on roads, which have a maximum speed limit of 100km/h and above but this has not yet been implemented.

The RTA also spent a huge amount on advertisements and sign boards warning motorists about the minimum speed limit but motorists driving below the speed limit have never been fined.

Plans for the minimum speed limit triggered debate when introduced by the RTA. A top traffic police official objected saying that it should be 70km/h but the RTA stuck to its guns saying that it had taken the decision after comprehensive studies.

However, the friction continued between the Traffic and Roads Agency at the RTA and the Traffic Police and no measures were taken to implement the decision.

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“We announced the decision and also educated motorists through advertisements and sign boards but the police were responsible for implementing this and it never happened,” said a senior RTA official.

He said the disagreement between the RTA and the police on the issue regarding the minimum speed limit was not resolved.

A top traffic police official told Gulf News the police were never convinced on the issue. He said that there was a need for better coordination between the RTA and the Traffic Police on this important issue.

An RTA official said the aim was to encourage motorists to maintain an average speed and to avoid driving too slowly on highways.

Slow drivers cannot be caught on automatic speed cameras installed on roads because these only capture speeding motorists. Slow drivers were supposed to be tracked by cameras manned by the police but it has not been done so far.

Dangerous: Risk to road users

A study conducted by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) reveals that introducing a minimum speed limit does not mean that a motorist has to drive at 60 km/h; rather it says a motorist should drive at a speed (above 60km/h) to keep up with the traffic flow within the given minimum and maximum speed limits depending on the traffic situation.

The decision is aimed at motorists who drive too slowly.

The RTA study also says if the minimum speed is set at 30 per cent less than the maximum speed of 120km/h, it would be 84 km/h and it would not be workable because it would be more than the maximum speed of 80km/h fixed for trucks on highways.

The RTA’s decision to have a minimum speed limit of 60 km/h on roads calculates at 50 per cent less than the maximum speed on roads with a 120km/h upper limit and some 40 per cent on roads with a maximum speed limit of 100km/h.

COMPARISON

Limits on major roads
Country Max Speed Min Speed % of Min spd < Max speed
UK 112 km/h 64 km/h 42%
USA 105 km/h 64 km/h 39%
Germany 130 km/h 60 km/h 54%
Spain 120 km/h 60 km/h 50%
Belgium 120 km/h 70 km/h 40%
Dubai 100 to 120 km/h 60 km/h 40% to 50%

Some of the main roads in Dubai which will have minimum speed limit of 60 km/h

Shaikh Zayed Road

Emirates Road

Al Khail Road

Al Ittihad Road

Dubai Outer Bypass Road

Dubai-Hatta Road

Dubai-Al Ain Road

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