UAE Campaigns for Safer Driving

On the 26th September 2012, The Emirates Foundation for Youth Development launched a campaign to promote safe driving and road safety awareness amongst the country’s young people. Coined the Driving Safely campaign, its target is to raise standards by promoting the basic standards of safety while in charge of a vehicle. The campaign runs until the 2nd October 2012 throughout Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah the Western Region and Al Ain – but the lessons learnt from the campaign have no expiry date.

Dangerous driving is a problem ingrained in the car culture of the UAE, newspapers have stated. In the first five months of 2011 there were a massive 2,618 traffic accidents reported and 338 road users killed. In comparison to other countries, the UAE fares badly when it comes to road safety. According to the Global Status Report on Road Safety from 2009, in the UAE 37.1 out of every 100,000 people were killed in road accidents. The world average is 18.8.

The Driving Safely Campaign has been welcomed by communities across the Emirates and has attracted 200 volunteers who are keen to offer advice to motorists, and promote the benefits of safety on the roads.

Some of the advice offered during the campaign includes taking heed of traffic signs, using seat belts and adhering to road speed limits to prevent road accidents and reduce the amount of unnecessary deaths on the road.

Using a seat belt

It has been scientifically proven that seatbelts save lives, so when you go out in a car make sure you buckle up. Seat belts can reduce crash-related deaths and injuries by about 50% according to the USA’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Although modern vehicles are often also fitted with airbags, these are not designed to replace seatbelts – they just provide added protection.

It is important to strap in all passengers, including children who may require additional car seat protection. Research by HAAD – the Health Authority Abu Dhabi – suggested that just two percent of children were properly strapped in when travelling in vehicles. This fact goes hand in hand with the fact that traffic accidents were one of the major causes of death in children under the age of three years old.

The difficulties often lie with the size of the family in the Emirates, as here the average family has four of five children, which can pose problems when it comes to fitting car seats for extra safety. Many families transport children without the use of a suitably sized vehicle, simply because they don’t have an option. However, there are a wide variety of car loans available to help families pay for larger vehicles over a period of time, which can make travelling safer and more affordable. Affordable cars on finance may be a useful solution for families who would struggle to pay for a larger, safer vehicle outright.

There are currently schemes in the Emirates which encourage the use of child car seats when driving. For example, the Al Corniche Hospital in Abu Dhabi distributes a free car seat to every parent when they have an addition to the family. In just 12 months, the hospital gave away more than 8,000 car seats.

Parents are also encouraged to provide car safety training to their children from a young age, by transporting children in car seats from birth and encouraging seat belt use as they grow older.

Speeding – a leading cause of death

For the UAE’s general public, speeding is seen as a leading concern on the roads. A national driving survey by 999 Magazine, found that people welcomed unmarked police vehicles to help decrease accidents caused by speeding motorists.

To help curb the problem of speeding on the Abu Dhabi road to Dubai, the limit has been cut to 140kph rather than the previous 160kph. Points systems which eventually allow the authorities to impound vehicles have been added to fines as punishments for speeding.

The future for safe driving

The General Directorate of Traffic Coordination at the Ministry of Interior shows that collisions and crashes between vehicles decreased by 11.6% and road fatalities dropped 12.8% from 2010 to 2011. While the UAE’s roads appear to be getting safer year on year, there are still many things that individuals can do to ensure their own safety as well as that of passengers and other motorists. Always wear a seat belt, ensure children as properly strapped in, and observe the speed limits are just three points that will make journeying by car much safer.

Posted by on September 26, 2012. Filed under Car News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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