UAE Federal Council considering nationwide removal of speed limit ‘buffer’
Plans to introduce unified speed limits across the UAE’s main highways remain under discussion, a senior UAE police chief has told The National, just weeks after Abu Dhabi became the first emirate to remove the speed limit buffer.
In most emirates, the traffic buffer allows drivers to exceed the posted speed limit by up to 20kph before being ‘flashed’. In Abu Dhabi, however, this was abolished on August 12th, 2018.
The Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi removed the buffer in an effort to standardise official speed limits, improve road safety and clear up long-standing confusion over just how fast motorists are permitted to travel.
All speed limits in the emirate are now 20kph higher than they were before, to take into account the buffer that previously existed.
Saeed Al Remeithi, a member of the Federal National Council, said the buffer limit has caused "confusion" as well as accidents.
“Part of the problem has been those who are aware of the buffer drive fast, while people such as tourists who don’t drive slower. This has caused confusion as well as accidents,” he said.
The ultimate plan is to have the buffer removed on all major roads across the country, but it isn’t expected to happen anytime soon.
Major General Mohammed Saif Al Zafeen, chairman of the Federal Traffic Council and assistant commander-in-chief of Dubai Police, told a meeting of the council, which is comprised of police chiefs, that the unification of speed limits across the UAE needs to be studied more thoroughly.
He said more research needed to be carried out into how the scheme can contribute to a reduction in traffic accidents.
The Federal Council meeting also heard that the number of road deaths has dropped by eight percent in the first eight months of the year, from 362 last year to 333 this year.