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Dubai authorities urge motorists not to rush home for iftar

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The team responsible for cleaning up roads after car crashes has urged motorists not to risk their lives by racing home to break their Ramadan fast.

Yacoop Al Ali, from Dubai Municipality’s specialist hygiene team, said it was not worth risking a smash to save “five or ten minutes”, as fasters head to their evening meals on the first day of Ramadan.

The number of crashes on Dubai’s roads usually increases during Ramadan, in 2012 more than 3,000 accidents were reported in the first 10 days – 200 of them shortly before iftar. Last year, five people were injured in crashes in the first two days. Ali’s team is preparing for its busiest month of the year.

He said: “In the hours leading to the Maghreb [evening] prayer you see people driving to get home. “Some are not paying enough attention on the roads, so consequently this period becomes filled with accidents. “We urge people not to speed because it is simply not worth it to lose your life or someone else’s life to reach home five or 10 minutes earlier.”

Ali said two teams consisting of eight people will be put on alert to support emergency services. Their job is to clear the roads to ensure they are safe after an accident and that traffic can flow again. Another 25 personnel will be on standby.

The emergency teams will be stationed in Al Qusais and Al Barsha. Last year, they collected 8,130 tonnes of waste from Dubai highways, ranging from rubbish dropped on the road to debris from crashed vehicles. So far this year about 1,695 tonnes of rubbish and crash debris has been collected – an average of 4.4 tonnes per day.

The cleaning teams are usually deployed as soon as there is a report of an accident, reaching the scene in recognisable vehicles with flashing lights. Ali said: “We try to get there in five to eight minutes, around the same time as the police, to start our work.” And he urged drivers: “You are fasting for around 12 hours, so another five and 10 minutes will not make a difference.”


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