Older heavy vehicles put lives at risk: official


By Rayeesa Absal, Staff Reporter  www.gulfnews.com

Dubai: Most heavy vehicles in Dubai, owned by transport companies, are older than ten years which is a major road safety risk, a senior traffic official said on Wednesday, calling for increased monitoring of these vehicles across the UAE.

    *  Image Credit: Gulf News archive     * The impact of accidents caused by heavy vehicles is higher in terms of fatalities and damages, RTA official Behroozian said.
* Image Credit: Gulf News archive * The impact of accidents caused by heavy vehicles is higher in terms of fatalities and damages, RTA official Behroozian said.

“A majority of the heavy vehicles in Dubai, owned by transport firms, are older than a decade posing a major risk to road safety,” Ahmad Behroozian, CEO of the RTA’s Licensing Agency, told Gulf News.

“Statistics have shown that the older the vehicle, the higher the risk.”

Although there are less accidents involving heavy vehicles compared with light vehicles — as there are not as many on the road, the impact of accidents caused by these vehicles is much higher in terms of fatalities and damage, he said.

He said that there should be more stringent control nationwide on heavy vehicle safety.

Considering the distance travelled by these vehicles, annual vehicle inspections seem insufficient, he added.

“Now, all emirates, including Dubai have roadside inspections in addition to annual vehicle inspections.”

“But if a vehicle is found unsafe, all we do now is issue a fine and let them go. The problem is if a vehicle is unsafe it should not be allowed back on the roads unless the issue is rectified.”

Taking safety seriously

A defect-control mechanism should be introduced, Behroozian said.

For instance, if a fault is found the authorities could give a time frame within which the issue should be rectified and then the companies will have to obtain another certificate to get the vehicles back on the road.

“The inconveniences caused will force businesses to take safety seriously.”

Meanwhile, the RTA has piloted some of the world’s most advanced vehicle technology across the UAE and the Middle East, by fitting heavy vehicles with two systems — the first tracks vehicle movement and the second reveals the conditions of tyres. The new technology was fitted to 40 trucks with the aim of ensuring road safety and minimising traffic accidents.

The initiative was done in cooperation with the system suppliers — Astrata Company and Trakker Company Middle East — and transport companies.

“The application of these technological systems was one component of a major project the RTA had completed to improve truck safety in Dubai, called the Vehicle Defect Clearing System (VDCS) Project. The project includes improving the detection of unsafe trucks, creating truck and truck company safety histories, improving the exchange of information with vehicle inspection sites in relation to vehicle frequent defects and providing a range of new hi-tech equipment to RTA inspectors.

“The mechanism of the new pilot technology, which is electronically linked to the control systems programme via satellites, enables the sending of alerts to the driver, operator and the RTA in case of a certain defect in the vehicle or if the driver is speeding, enabling accurate and full revision of the vehicle’s safety,” added Behroozian.