UAE motorists careless about wearing seat belts, shows study
An extremely low number of respondents - 11 per cent - reported always using their seat belts when in the back-seat
A significant number of Emiratis and young motorists are nonchalant about the need to wear seat belts, according to a latest study. It also says that more than half of the motorists in the UAE do not prompt fellow passengers to buckle up.
The RoadSafetyUAE and QIC Insured study on seatbelts coincided with the Ministry of the Interior's recent traffic law making back seat belt use mandatory for all passengers in a vehicle.
The survey, which was conducted in February, is based on a representative sample of more than 1,000 UAE residents.
Overall, 91 per cent of respondents noted they understand the importance of wearing seat belts. This knowledge peaks among females and drivers above 35, both with 95 per cent, and Westerners, with 96 per cent. However, the knowledge levels were the lowest among drivers aged 18 to 24 (87 per cent) and Emiratis (85 per cent).
Notably, the knowledge that seat belts can protect back seat passengers is significantly lower, with only 81 per cent understanding that. Again, knowledge peaks among women and older drivers (87 per cent each) and Westerners (92 per cent). The lowest values were seen among young respondents and Emiratis (76 per cent each) and Arab expats (74 per cent).
Notably, only 56 per cent of respondents said they prompt their passengers to buckle up. Again, the figures are lowest among young drivers (34 per cent) and Emiratis (38 per cent). A variety of reasons were identified for motorists not using their seat belts and not prompting passenger to buckle up.
The most common was that passengers feel safe in the back seat without a seat belt (55 per cent), that on short trips seat belts are not needed (25 per cent) and that respondents believe they are safe drivers who won't get in accidents (14 per cent).
Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE, said: "The findings of this study will help all stakeholders to develop hard-hitting awareness and education initiatives to accompany the implementation of this fantastic new law."
The report calls for specific efforts to broadly educate the UAE residents on the importance of seat belts with regards to preventing injuries and fatalities to back-seat passengers.
Considering that the mandatory seat belt law for front seat travellers has been in force for many years, only 78 per cent said they 'always' buckle up. The highest number of reported seat belt users were Westerners (100 per cent), females (85 per cent), Asians and drivers over 40 (83 per cent each) and Arab expats (82 per cent).
Alarmingly, only 63 per cent of drivers between 18 and 24 and 51 per cent of Emiratis reported using always their seat belt when driving.
An even a lower number- 71 per cent - of front seat passengers reported always using their seat belts. The figure was particularly low among young drivers (52 per cent) and Emiratis (38 per cent).
An extremely low number of respondents - 11 per cent - reported always using their seat belts when in the back-seat.
"This poor behaviour transcends all demographics and it calls for urgent and comprehensive education efforts of all concerned stakeholders: governmental entities, the media, corporations, the education segment (kindergartens, schools, universities) and platforms like RoadSafetyUAE," the report states.
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