Dubai Police, the Roads & Transport Authority and Dubai Municipality, together with 14-times Middle East Rally Champion Mohammed Ben Sulayem and representatives of The International Association for Human Values (IAHV), a UN registered charity, and sponsors Nokia, unveiled the plans for the “Road Peace” initiative at a press conference held the Police Officers Club yesterday.
“Road safety is something that affects us all and we are delighted to be working closely with The International Association for Human Values reduce accidents and fatalities on our roads. This is not a one-off event but a series of eight different initiatives to be introduced from now all the way through to the Dubai Shopping Festival in December,” said Brigadier Dr. Jamal Al Marri, depute commandant lieutenant general of Dubai police. “I urge everyone to join in the spirit of this campaign to help make our roads safer and reduce the senseless loss of life due to road accidents.”
Mohammed Ben Sulayem said:
“One of our aims is to keep racing off the streets and ensure the youth of the UAE are encouraged to indulge their passion for motor sport in a safe, properly controlled environment. We’re also committed to raising awareness of road safety overall and are pleased to support this important campaign.”
Sulayem is chairman of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the official representative appointed by the FIA and FIM, the world governing bodies of motor car and motor cycle racing, to supervise all motor sports events in the UAE.
During the presentation Dr Prabhakar Rao, chairman of the IAHV Dubai branch, said that road safety was everybody’s responsibility and not just the authorities’. “The initiatives we have planned will involve over 2000 IAHV volunteers, schools, universities, filling stations, commercial sponsors and suppliers, and we are extremely grateful for the patronage Major General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim and the enthusiastic support we have received from the Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Municipality and of course Mohammed Ben Sulayem.”
He said the charity had already begun the first initiative, Road Alertness training workshops for heavy road users like taxi, lorry and school bus drivers. These are based on the IAHV’s well known Art of Living programme and focus particularly on breathing techniques which enable the driver to remain calm while driving rather than getting stressed.
“We called our campaign Road Peace to signify the exact opposite of the ‘road rage’ people often feel when they are driving,” explained Dr Rao. He said that over 300 drivers had already attended the stress busting courses in Dubai and a further 6,000 are targeted to attend over the next nine months.
He pointed out that after just a few hours training the participants are calmer and more clear minded and focused when driving. Many also report that they sleep more soundly at night.
Dr Rao stated another seven initiatives will be announced over the coming nine months and the IAHV, which is a registered charity at Dubai Humanitarian City, is currently in talks with a number of potential sponsors. He said that all the money raised by the Road Peace campaign would be used to help the victims of road accidents in Dubai, such as paying medical expenses or repatriating the families of wage-earners who are killed or disabled in traffic accidents.
Last year the IAHV ran a high profile ‘Adopt a Plant’ campaign distributing 100,000 free plants in test tubes across Dubai. The charity also organises on-going programmes, such as providing stress relief workshops to UAE prison inmates and recycling computers to be donated to schools in third-world countries, as well as responding to natural calamities such as the recent Asian earthquake and tsunami.
Sunday, March 19- 2006 @ 9:17 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.