New traffic laws make UAE roads safer
Abu Dhabi - This was given emphasis by various transport service companies at second Road Safety Day
The UAE roads have become safer after the new federal traffic laws came into force in July this year but more needs to be done to ensure that the country will have fewer casualties due to road accidents.
This was given emphasis by various transport service companies at the second Road Safety Day organised by Serco, a global transport service company, in partnership with RoadSafety UAE, in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
David Greer, Serco Middle East CEO, told Khaleej Times that road safety is a collective responsibility - from the government to the public and private sectors to the motorists and the pedestrians.
"Roads are shared spaces, so everyone has to care for one another. Road safety involves teamwork; to protect each other, we have to act like our brother's keeper," Greer explained.
It is in this regard, that the transport companies, despite being competitors, are banding together to boost safety awareness campaigns across the country.
"We share our best practices on driving and these are important tools to promote safe driving among our staff and other road users. Such campaigns focus on the top causes of road accidents which continue to be speeding, tail-gating and the distractive effects of using mobile phones while driving," Greer added.
Captain Salem Mesfer Rashid Alamimi from the Dubai Police said that fines, even if they are hefty, "don't actually reduce accidents but education does".
"Some people who are rich, they don't actually care about stiff penalties. So, we have to talk to them and educate them about safe driving. We also reach out to various communities and share information on safe driving. And we ensure that we put enough police cars in places where there are high incidences of road accidents," he added.
Captain Alamimi also said that Dubai is on track to achieve its target of reducing the number of road fatalities to zero per 100,000 residents by 2020.
Ian Littlefield, QHSE (quality, health, safety, environment) manager of Dubai Driving Centre, agreed that Dubai is in a good position to achieve this safety target as it is always looking at best practices from around the world and improving them for the emirate.
Meanwhile, a recent study commissioned by RoadSafetyUAE and QIC Insured and conducted by YouGov, revealed that "drivers in the UAE have become a lot more safer than they were six months ago".
According to the fifth cycle of the 'UAE Road Safety Monitor', only 41 per cent survey respondents felt UAE roads have become more dangerous, compared to 49 per cent in the previous cycle. Respondents who experienced tailgating dropped by 12 per cent while distracted driving and lane swerving also posted a decrease.
Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE, noted: "UAE motorists observed less lane swerving, less speeding, less distracted driving, less tailgating and overall less reckless driving.
But despite these very positive trends, more needs to be done, as the absolute levels of perceived misbehaviour are still high. The hard work of all involved stakeholders must continue, especially with regards to education and creating awareness for proper conduct."