Autograde's Nabil Al Yafie talks road safety
Autograde COO discusses the benefits to be gained from speed limiters
Road accidents and associated fatalities have always been a cause for concern in the UAE. Whilst the introduction of fines and the implementation of radars have helped to reduce speeding across the Emirates, it remains difficult to accurately track the number of motorists who continue to break national speed limits.
Legislation passed by the UAE’s Ministry of Interior (MOI) means that it is now mandatory for speed limiters to be installed on private buses with capacities of up to 22 passengers. Owners of mini buses were given a deadline of March 2013 to comply with the law, which was implemented in line with recommendations from the Emirates Authority for Standardization & Metrology (ESMA). Today, it is thought that approximately 70% of the UAE’s 50,000 operational mini buses have such speed limiters installed, the maximum prescribed speed being 100km/h.
Common vehicles, such as the Toyota HiAce, the Nissan Urvan, and the Hyundai H-1, that are found to be without speed limiters cannot receive the certification necessary for annual registration renewal. Companies such as Autograde, that have been awarded the Emirates Quality Mark, are authorised by the MOI to distribute approved speed limiters. It is not difficult to obtain these devices. There is no excuse, therefore, for fleet owners to flout the law. UAE authorities must now focus on enforcing legislation.
Another category deserving of attention is the 1.5-tonne commercial vehicle class. I believe that the mandatory installation of speed limiters on such vehicles would significantly improve road safety in the UAE. Accidents often happen when the drivers of cargo vehicles rush from one location to another in order to make the maximum number of deliveries possible. This can lead to rash and hazardous driving practices.
Even so, the UAE’s move towards the installation of speed limiters on commercial vehicles has been a great success overall. The number of speeding incidents involving mini and passenger buses has fallen dramatically. This is hardly surprising when one considers the fact that excessive speed is a major contributing factor in so many road accidents.
By preventing drivers from reaching excessive speeds, limiters also offer a variety of additional advantages. They afford drivers better control of their vehicles, they help to reduce fuel consumption, and they minimise the likelihood that individuals will be fined for speeding.
Bodies such as the MOI and Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) already have professional teams in place to ensure that long-standing traffic directives are consistently followed. If the implementation of speed limiters is enforced at the same level, it will not only curtail the frequency of traffic violations but also help to reduce the number of deaths that stem from the excessive use of speed.
I believe that vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) technology, which can control factors such as car flow and vehicle arrival timing, represents the next step along the way to improved road safety. For now, however, there is a lack of awareness concerning the benefits offered by speed limiters. In my opinion, there should be a greater regional emphasis on safety itself, rather than on simply following the rules.