Dubai – MENA Herald: Research released today by global insurer Zurich and RoadSafetyUAE.com sheds light on the leading causes of speeding in the UAE.

According to respondents to a YouGov survey, the top three reasons UAE motorists speed are because they are running late (67%), for fun or to impress others (53%), and out of habit (45%). Next on the list is knowledge of speed camera locations (39%), followed by the belief that the roads are designed for speed (27%), a desire to test a car’s abilities (22%), and justification that speeding is more culturally accepted in the UAE than back home (21%).

The final two explanations are both related to the enforcement of speed limits, with 15% of drivers thinking they are unlikely to be caught, and 5% saying they are undeterred by what they consider to be low speeding fines.

Encouragingly, 82% of UAE drivers claim not to have driven faster than the official maximum enforced speed limits of 140km/h. However, this still means nearly one in five (18%) have exceeded this limit, with 5% claiming to have driven at speeds between 180-260km/h. 26% of Abu Dhabi drivers claim to have driven in excess of 140km/h, while only 15% of Dubai drivers and 13% of Sharjah drivers claim the same.

Awareness that speeding is the main contributor to accidents and fatalities on the UAE’s road is high, with 83% supporting this view. This perhaps explains why the overwhelming majority of respondents (86%) believe the current speed limits are about right or even too high, although 12% feel they are too low and 1% wants to see them abolished.

Thomas Edelmann, Founder of RoadSafetyUAE.com, comments: “Despite widespread awareness of the UAE’s driving rules, far too many motorists seem to be consciously ignoring the dangers of speeding. We need to address the main motivators behind speeding by holistic and permanent awareness initiatives, focusing on the need for proper time management and the importance of overcoming the nuisance of impressing others and entrenched habits. Only then can we begin to overcome this serious problem that affects us all in the UAE.”

Young drivers especially prone to speeding

Exceeding the limit is especially prevalent among young drivers with 29% of 18-24 year olds surveyed admitting to speeding on a quarter or more of their trips. Equally concerning, 38% say they have exceeded 150kp/h on the country’s roads in the past. This is despite an overwhelming majority (89%) of young people agreeing that speeding is the main contributor to traffic accidents and fatalities in the UAE.

In comparison, 19% of drivers as a whole say they regularly speed, and only 13% of over 40s. Likewise, just 11% of drivers older than 40 admit to having driven faster than 150kp/h in the UAE.       

Brian Reilly, CEO of Zurich Insurance Middle East, said: “Speeding is one of the main killers on our roads but thankfully awareness of its dangers is now firmly established. Of concern, however, ignorance seems to have been replaced by ambivalence, with too many young motorists disregarding the clear risks and habitually speeding on the UAE’s roads.”

Despite their propensity for fast driving, only 14% of motorists aged 18-24 want to see speed limits increased. Instead, 82% believe current limits are about right, while 4% want them reduced.    

When asked to justify their reasons for speeding, 72% of young drivers blame their actions on running late, 55% want to impress others, 53% say they are comfortable speeding as they know where most speed cameras are located, and 30% say their cars are meant to be driven fast.

Zahir Sharif, General Manager UAE, Zurich Insurance Middle East, concluded: “Making the UAE’s roads safer is a responsibility that everyone in the country shares. Through our partnership with RoadSafetyUAE.com, Zurich hopes to encourage all car users to take a moment to think about their actions behind the wheel and make small changes to protect themselves and their fellow motorists.”