Sharjah Police record 500% increase in heavy vehicle traffic violations

The Traffic and Patrol Department of Sharjah Police have successfully increased both efficiencies and road safety since the beginning of last year by utilising cutting edge technologies new to the United Arab Emirates, designed to manage truck and heavy vehicle movements in the emirate – the highlight of their recent submission in to the Gulf Traffic Awards taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre on 13-15 November.

Issues with heavy vehicles passing illegally (without permits) through the city and other restricted zones have been a recurring problem in Sharjah, effecting both traffic congestion road safety – including accidents. Implementing fines only eased the situation slightly, as motorists were still complaining about traffic congestion as trucks that are pulled over to the side of a narrow road further hampered traffic flow.

Statistics show that there is a year-on-year increase of approximately 18 per cent in transport permit applications, spurring Sharjah’s Traffic and Transport division to conduct extensive research in to what new detection camera systems are available on the market. Working with a local vendor, they developed a state-of-the-art ‘Laser Scanning’ system which would be used to detect through its size – a first of its kind for the Middle East.

‘The Laser Scanner technology can monitor eight lanes simultaneously’.

The trial phase for this new technology commenced in 2013. On February 19th 2015 the system was deployed, and within the first day of being fully operational it recorded a total of 444 violations. Throughout 2015, total recorded violations on trucks without permits reached 23,952 compared to 3995 in 2014 – posting a 500 per cent Y-o-Y increase.

“The aim of this project is to control and manage truck movement effectively. We have successfully reduced physical enforcement ground resources, improved traffic congestion and most importantly improved road safety along some of the major heavy vehicle routes” said Lieutenant Saud Al Shaiba from the traffic awareness and media section of Sharjah Police.

“Six months after its implementation, the department recorded a rate of 90 per cent compliance in comparison with the pre-radar periods. We have also witnessed a 10 per cent decrease in traffic congestion and a 4 per cent decrease in traffic accidents over the radar installation period” added Shaiba.

This new technology is also designed to support Sharjah’s 2021 Sustainability Plan, which is currently being drafted, aiming to reach the national goal of having three road fatalities per 100,000 people. The sustainability of this system is supported with the department’s plan of expanding the technology to detect other serious road offences such as tailgating, driving on the hard shoulder, not wearing a seat belt or driving while on the phone.

‘An Automated Number Plate Recognition System (ANPR) being used in conjunction with a Laser Scanner Device’

Taking it one step further, the department is currently developing plans to transition the system in to a SMART technology, meaning minimal resources will be required to manage to processes and it will be linked to all other relevant systems for enforcement and detection purposes.