BMW Group Middle East conducted a survey amongst male and female 18-23 year old university students across the UAE. Findings concluded that there is a significant need for education on road safety awareness within this target audience as 55% of students admitted to never or only occasionally wearing a seatbelt, while almost 70% see it as necessary to wear a seatbelt only if sitting in the front. Even less safety is practiced by young drivers to ensure that their passengers are protected in an accident with 57% neglecting to insist that passengers buckle up. These alarming findings come despite almost all of the respondents knowing someone who has been involved in a road accident.
This year’s BMW Group Middle East road safety campaign is again supported by the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (HAAD), the Road and Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA). The initiative will also be joined by the Higher Colleges of Technology Universities (HCT), the largest higher educational institution in the UAE delivering a wide range of quality programs to over 19,000 Emirati students, and will aim to raise road safety awareness with particular focus on the importance of using seatbelts. The campaign will involve a roadshow moving through the HCT campuses in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Sharjah to tangibly display to university students the devastating effects of not practicing safe driving.
According to the “Global status report on road safety” published in June 2009 by the World Health Organization (WHO), road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death worldwide amongst people between the ages of 15 and 29 years with over 50% of global mortality due to road traffic injuries occurring amongst people aged between 15 and 44 years.
Dr. Joerg Breuer, Managing Director, BMW Group Middle East, said, “Education on road safety in the region must be a sustained and united effort. We all have a role to play – the government, automotive companies and the general public. The more people who know how to protect themselves on the roads the less likely they are to suffer severe or even fatal road traffic injuries. As part of our commitment to continue the improvement of road safety, we are launching phase two of our ‘Stay Alert. Stay Alive.’ campaign together with our importer partners, AGMC and Abu Dhabi Motors to encourage everyone to buckle up, every time.”
The inaugural stage of the ‘Stay Alert. Stay Alive.’ campaign was launched in the UAE last year with a focus on educating the public about the importance of using appropriate safety restraints while travelling by car, particularly those for children. The campaign was a resounding success with over 3,000 child safety booster seats distributed to parents throughout two public awareness events and the initiative winning second place in the RTA Sustainable Transport Award in 2010.
To prove the effectiveness of last year’s campaign, BMW Group Middle East conducted an independent survey of over 300 participants from last year’s ‘Stay Alert. Stay Alive.’ events. The survey helped identify how the campaign was perceived by the public and if the educational phase had produced lasting effects. Over 82% of surveyed said they use the BMW child booster seats they were given. However, of those who did not use the booster seat, 28% said it was because their child did not like to be restrained, again highlighting that further education is needed on the vital role safety restraints play in saving lives.
Although the rate of road fatalities in the Abu Dhabi Emirate dropped by 17.4% in 2010 compared with 2009, the number of needless deaths and injuries is still too high. According to HAAD, 375 people, including 39 children (age 0-17), died of road traffic injuries in Abu Dhabi in 2010. This accounts for 68% of all deaths from injuries and therefore makes road traffic injuries the leading cause of injury death and the second overall cause of death in the Abu Dhabi Emirate.
The UAE still has one of the world’s highest rates of road death – an average incidence of 19.9 deaths per 100,000 population in the last 3 years (2008-2010). According to a new study released by Abu Dhabi Dept. of Transport in April 2011 total costs caused by road traffic crashes and injuries in the UAE have been estimated to account for around Dhs3.5bn annually.
According to Dr. Jens Thomsen, Section Head Occupational and Environmental Health, HAAD, “The vast majority (74%) of these road traffic fatalities are caused by human factors, such as speeding, not using the seat belt and child safety restraints and reckless driving, e.g. tailgating, sudden lane changes, not keeping a safe distance and other forms of unsafe driving. This demonstrates the importance for continuously conducting road safety awareness and behavioural change campaigns and we are therefore fully supporting BMW Middle East Group in their endeavour to reduce the burden of these injuries on the health sector and the community.”
The ‘Stay Alert. Stay Alive.’ road safety awareness days will be held at various HCT colleges throughout October and November in partnership with BMW Group importers Abu Dhabi Motors, AGMC, HAAD and the RTA. Further child backless booster seats will also be distributed to the general public visiting BMW Group showrooms to continue the message of road safety to parents and their children.
Monday, September 5- 2011 @ 16:27 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.