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New road safety portal goes live in the UAE
Latest initiative to educate residents about responsible driving, as number of road offences soars.
January 6, 2014 2:26 by Muhammad Aldalou
Ask any UAE-based expatriate about road safety in the country and they’ll have one – if not many – stories to tell. Some are their own, while others are ones they’ve heard. Either way, violations, accidents and road safety in general is a topic that has dominated – and continues to lead – the front pages of newspapers in the country.
Traffic and local authorities (including the Dubai Police) have launched many awareness campaigns and initiatives to educate the general public and crack down on the number of accidents. The goal is to achieve a zero mortality rate on the roads of Dubai by 2020 – a vision that’s been described as both ambitious and extremely challenging.
The new online road safety platform has recently gone live in the UAE and in the nick of time too, as latest statistics indicate that more than five million road offences were recorded in 2013, 600,000 more than in the previous year.
According to authorities, the majority of these offences were for speeding and reckless driving.
Brigadier Ghaith Al Zaabi, traffic co-ordination director at the Ministry of Interior, says many drivers are “not co-operative”, despite efforts and measures by traffic authorities, as the figure for violations is still high.
RoadSafetyUAE.com, which has been live since the start of December, is an educational platform that targets the general public in the UAE and aims to make a difference to improve road safety in the country.
The initiative, according to its founder Thomas Edelmann, will be permanent and a broadly communicated knowledge base for road safety content. It has earned the support and public endorsement of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), and will encourage dialogue and active contributions from users, authorities and independent companies.
According to Edelmann, the scope and permanent nature of the platform set it apart from other (and previous) campaign-driven road safety initiatives. He says that more than 30 road safety related topics will be covered on the website initially, particularly ones with specific relevance to the UAE.
Some of the topics, which he says can be ‘adopted’ or supported (financially as well) by companies, include road etiquettes and politeness, speeding, changing lanes properly, tyre safety, proper use of indicators and pedestrian safety.
Users can provide comments and improvements on the editorial content, and can also suggest new and additional topics, as well as share their thoughts and experiences with the community.
Edelmann, who has lived in the UAE for the past 13 years, says that while campaigns launched by companies and government authorities have been effective, more needs to be done by Dubai to reach its aim of zero fatalities on the roads by 2020.
When asked whether a change of culture is needed over the next five to ten years to significantly reduce road violations and accidents, Edelmann tells Kippreport.com that a change in culture can only come through education.
“This is the reason why we want to be as broad as possible from a communication perspective,” he concludes.