UAE: Experts remind motorists of traffic rules around school zones
Authorities hope to ensure an accident-free first day of school
With schools set to reopen on Sunday, there will be a manifold increase in traffic, with school buses and motorists jostling for space on the UAE roads. This brings road safety into sharp focus, the safety of school children and other motorists.
The Dubai Police announced an initiative called 'A day without accidents' to keep the Emirate's roads safer. They hope to ensure an accident-free first day of school.
According to the Dubai Police, educational institutes in the Emirate will welcome back 1.14 million students.
Road safety experts urged motorists to be safe and hoped that there would be fewer incidents when schools begin.
"Unfortunately, we experience a lot of bad behaviour around schools when it comes to picking up or dropping kids," Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE, told Khaleej Times.
"We as parents, motorists and road users must display the safest driving behaviour, and road behaviour around schools. It is all about teaching our children the right and safe behaviour, and to be role models for them," he added.
Edelmann emphasised a few points on how to go about it.
"Be extra alert and careful when you are driving close to schools, kindergartens and universities. We might experience a lot of traffic around schools, especially in the mornings and early afternoons. Watch out for extra traffic guidance and follow the directions of school staff, traffic guides or police. Drivers dropping or collecting kids must not obstruct traffic. Care for other motorists like you want to be cared for. Park your vehicle safely, and even if a few steps away from the school – a few steps are good for you and your kids. Parents should be disciplined with time management and leave early as there are regular traffic delays around schools. Parents dropping or collecting kids, should guide them and/or give them safety instructions to reach the school/your vehicle safely. Kids are learning from their parents, so be a role model for road safety, especially around schools. Parents must educate their kids about proper road safety conduct around schools, and in general," Edelmann explained.
Edelmann also pointed out what needs to be done around school buses.
"Be extra careful when you are around a school bus. Obey the yellow warning sign and flashing red lights that engage school buses when they stop allowing students to get on or off. You must stop to allow safe passage for students. Be very aware of students appearing in front or at the back of the bus wanting to cross the street. Be very aware of students crossing the street to reach the bus. Watch your speed and be ready to brake. Be polite and generous to school buses, do not cut in front of them and show a caring attitude for the kids they transport. It is also vital to teach our children the right and safe school bus behaviour," he elaborated.
The speed limit around school zones in Dubai varies, according to Edelmann, with some places having a 30kmph limit while others have 40kmph.
According to the UAE's Federal Traffic Law, which came into effect on July 1, 2017, motorists will be fined Dh1,000 and receive 10 black points if they fail to stop when the school bus driver activates the stop sign.
The school bus driver faces a fine of Dh 500 and six black points if he fails to activate the stop sign or in case of non-compliance with traffic instructions.
Edelmann also explained behaviour inside a school bus.
"When approaching the pick-up point of your school bus, cross the roads safely. The same is true at drop-off. Never run to or from the bus, but just walk normally. Outside of the bus, don't stand in the danger zone. If a child can touch the bus, they are too close. Take your seat promptly, buckle up and sit properly, facing forward at all times. While the bus is on the move, keep the aisle of the bus clear at all times. Always keep your head, hands and arms inside the bus. Remain in the seat until the bus comes to a complete stop. Always listen to the directions of the school bus driver and school bus attendants. They are true experts, and their word needs to be followed the same way as teachers," said Edelmann.
Edelmann also welcomed the initiative by the Dubai Police to ensure zero accidents.
"Raising awareness for safe conduct is the most important ingredient to achieving more road safety. Hence, we applaud the efforts of all involved stakeholders to raise awareness by using the means at hand, like campaigns of Police, RTA, MOI, school organizations and more," he said.
"We, at RoadSafetyUAE, are promoting the safety around schools and school buses as well as the safe behaviour of students with regards to school buses on our social media," added Edelmann.
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