Police to clamp down on motorists using mobile phones while driving

DUBAI — Beware: The Dubai traffic police is firmly clamping down on motorists using mobile phones while driving. And beginning today, the police will adopt a "zero tolerance" policy towards all such motorists guilty of violating the police directive.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Tue 6 Jun 2006, 10:45 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:20 PM

This was announced during the launch of the 'Nokia Hands Free' road safety campaign at the Dubai Police Officers Club yesterday.

The campaign is part of an eight-event 'Road Peace' safety initiative launched by the International Association for Human Values (IAHV), a UN registered charity, in conjunction with Dubai Police, the Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Municipality, the organisers of the Dubai Shopping Festival and several corporate sponsors.

"Driving is potentially dangerous and needs a motorist's full attention. The best advice is: 'ignition on, mobile off'. However for professionals such as doctors who feel they need to be contactable at all times they need to use hands free car kits. As from tomorrow, we will have a zero tolerance policy towards motorists who use mobile phones while driving," said Essa Aman Obaid, Deputy Director of Traffic, Dubai Police.

Engineer Maitha Mohammed bin Adai, CEO, Traffic and Roads Agency, Roads and Transport Authority, said road safety was everyone's responsibility. "The classical view of road safety is the three E's, which stand for Engineering, making the roads, Education, regarding a good knowledge of the road safety rules, and the Enforcement of those rules.

"However it now also requires a fourth E, for Effort. In order to reduce the number of accidents we need help and commitment from every sector of society, from schools, the media, from clubs and associations and NGOs like the IAHV, to constantly drive home the message that driving dangerously is not only illegal but also anti-social," Adai said.

She said that over the past two years the number of cars on Dubai's roads had increased by over 200,000. "Dubai is a worldwide success story and more and more people want to come and live here. We are constantly planning, building and widening Dubai's roads. However as the city expands people also need to learn to drive with more self-discipline," engineer Adai added.

Per capita statistics reveal the UAE has among the highest number of road fatalities in the world and is increasing year after year. In 2004 the average number of road fatalities was 17 per month. Last year it reached 20 per month. In the first four months of this year, it had increased to an average of 26 per month.

Dr Prabhakar Rao, Chief Operating Officer of IAHV-Middle East, said anecdotal evidence indicated a high percentage of accidents were caused by drivers talking on their mobiles rather than concentrating on driving.

"Enabling effective and efficient communication between people is at the heart of what we do," said Sudhir Nair, Senior Marketing Manager, Nokia Middle and Near East. "Nokia offers a broad range of devices to allow handsfree communication, using Bluetooth wireless technology or wired connections."

As part of its Road Peace campaign the IAHV is also running an on-going programme of 'Stress Busting' training workshops for heavy road users such as truck, taxi and school bus drivers. These workshops are being conducted in association with its sister organisation, The Art of Living Foundation. Over 600 people have attended the course so far and this will rise to over 6,000 by the time the campaign ends in December. This community event will be an official part of the Dubai Shopping Festival and will feature a 'human chain' at Zabeel Park. About 16,000 people are expected to attend and there will be attempts to break three Guinness World Records.

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