Salama launch summer challenge in fight against epidemic of road deaths
Sulayem urges students to accept responsibility for making UAE’s roads safer .
June 28, 2010 2:32 by Rasha Reslan
Abu Dhabi, UAE 28th June, 2010: At the start of a new Salama summer initiative launched in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) and with the support of Yas Marina Circuit, Mohammed Ben Sulayem has urged hundreds of high school students to accept responsibility for helping to make the UAE’s roads safer.
Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, is supporting Salama Summer Challenge 2010, an interactive road safety campaign targeting 4,000 students aged between 14 and 18 at colleges and high schools in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the western region over the next two weeks.
Exclusively sponsored by Yas Marina Circuit, it is the latest in a series of campaigns to be introduced by Salama, the road safety public awareness initiative launched in 2008 under the patronage of HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.
The summer campaign was launched yesterday at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi. Crash test videos, driving simulators, seat belt “convincer” devices and testimonials from relatives of road accident victims will be used to drive home key road safety messages to students.
Salama and ADEC have planned for further sessions at Abu Dhabi University, the Institute of Applied Technology, and the UAE University before the campaign continues at another ten campuses.
The Salama initiative is managed by the Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy, and is a partnership with Shell and the Emirates Driving Company, and is supported by the UAE Ministry of Interior.
Sulayem, the 14-times FIA Middle East Rally champion, told students: “This campaign is designed to deliver strong messages to young people of the things we must all do, and the things we must avoid doing, in the interests of road safety.
“While it may not seem cool to wear a seat belt, it’s vital to do this at all times. And it’s the same for passengers as much as for drivers. Some of you are too young to think about driving yet, but you can get into the habit of wearing seat belts now. At the same time you can influence your elder brothers and sisters, and your parents, to do the same when they’re driving you.”
“At the same time, don’t be afraid to tell them to slow down if they ignore the speed limit. Those who want to drive fast can go to the new racing school at Yas Marina Circuit to learn new driving skills from professionals. Racing on the roads costs lives.”
Sulayem added: “You all know that, and you know that it can be dangerous for people to make or receive phone calls while driving. Learn that lesson now. Try to make sure that whoever is driving you uses a hands free device, keeps it short, and doesn’t lose concentration. Better still, they wait until the car has come to a stop.
“Most importantly, don’t forget what you see and hear today, and don’t let your friends or family forget either. Too many bright young people with the world at their feet lose their lives, or have their lives changed forever, by road accidents. Always keep road safety at the front of your mind. Take responsibility yourselves to make our roads safer.”
Richard Cregan, CEO of Yas Marina Circuit which last week launched the Yas Racing School, said: “It’s encouraging to see that such a strong, combined effort is being made to persuade the young people of the UAE to make road safety a way of life.
“Those who want to drive fast now have a wonderful new opportunity to learn the correct techniques under the guidance of professional instructors at Yas Racing School in a safe and controlled environment.”
The Summer Challenge 2010 is the latest in a series of result oriented Salama campaigns and programmes aimed at fighting the epidemic of road traffic deaths and injuries in the UAE. This is done by raising road safety consciousness and awareness, targeting members of all UAE communities, across all ages and nationalities, in partnership with the public and private sectors.
Based on his record-breaking rally driving career which established him as a sporting ambassador for the Arab world, Sulayem is a role model for UAE students and a staunch supporter of road safety initiatives, particularly those targeting young Emiratis.
As a Vice President of the FIA, he also supports international road safety measures implemented by the organisation which, in addition to being the world governing body for motor sport, brings together 222 member clubs in 130 countries that represent more than 100 million motorists and their families.