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New initiative in IAHV’s road peace campaign: ‘Buckle Up Dubai’

United Arab Emirates: Wednesday, November 08 - 2006 @ 16:46

Sponsored by the Emirates Driving Institute (EDI), the seat belt convincer will demonstrate to motorists and passengers the physical shock of being involved in a car crash and will be available for the public to experience at The Centrepoint in Mall of the Emirates on Saturday 11th November and other major shopping malls including popular locations over the coming months.

Said Brigadier Mohamed Al Merri from Dubai Police: “The Dubai community constitutes over 100 nationalities with different driving habits and driving culture. Car manufacturers across the globe have introduced an alarm system in vehicles to remind us to wear safety belts while driving and while being driven. Obviously, they are well aware of the dangers of not being belted in vehicles. In fact, the driver also has the additional responsibility of ensuring that all co-passengers are wearing seat belts. It’s just as if every driver is a pilot who commands all passengers to wear their safety belts before take off. Bringing awareness to the community is key to road safety and we are glad to have joined hands with IAHV in this campaign.”

Stated Salah Al Marzuqi, Deputy Director, Traffic Departments: “As the Government of Dubai steps up measures to create road safety awareness, we require the assistance of the media to communicate these messages clearly to the public. The community needs to understand the dangers of driving without using the safety device provided in every vehicle. When rear seat passengers are not belted, they can cause the death of the front seat passengers during collisions. So the cause of the fatality is not the accident itself, but the fact that the safety belt was not used by all the passengers in the vehicle. Sometimes, we cannot avert accidents, but we can at least prevent worse damage by wearing our seatbelts.”

Toufiq Fouad Al Siryani, Assistant Manager Standards and Testing: “The convincer has been specially built for EDI according to strict international specifications to ensure the absolute safety of people experiencing the crash simulation. Just as parents ensure the safety of their children by vaccinating them, so also parents need to ensure the safety of their children while driving. Once people experience first hand the impact of a simulated collision they will never drive without a seat belt again.”

“In alignment with the vision of UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to make Dubai’s roads safer, the International Association of Human Values has introduced the seat belt convincer as yet another initiative in its year long Road Peace campaign,” said Dr Prabhakar Rao, Chief Operating Officer of the IAHV (Middle East H.Q.).

From Saturday 11th Nov 2006 onwards, the seat belt convincer will be stationed at Centrepoint, Mall of the Emirates for the public to experience a simulated crash wearing a seat belt between 7pm and 9pm. During the coming months it will be taken to other popular locations as well.

“Later we will also be taking it to colleges and to schools when parents are dropping off or picking up their children,” said Dr Prabhakar Rao. “At schools we will ask parents to hold a five-kilo doll on their lap as if it were their child. This graphically demonstrates the impossibility of holding a child safely in an accident. Even in a slow speed collision it is impossible to hold the ball. If it were a real accident their child would have been thrown through the windscreen and most likely killed.”

The initiative is part of the IAHV’s Road Peace campaign held under the patronage of Dubai Police and with the support of the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), the Municipality, the organisers of the Dubai Shopping Festival and ace rally champion Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club for the UAE.

Per capita statistics reveal the UAE has among the highest number of road fatalities in the world and is increasing year by year. In 2004 the average number of road fatalities was 17 per month. Last year it reached 20 per month. In the first eight months of this year it has increased to an average of 27 per month.

Dubai police estimate that fatalities and serious injuries could be reduced by 50 per cent per cent if everyone wore seat belts when driving.

The IAHV has already launched three traffic safety initiatives this year. The first was an ongoing series of ‘Road Alertness Program’ training workshops which so far has taught over 2,000 motorists, primarily taxi and school bus drivers and driving instructors, how to relax and ward off stress while driving.

These workshops are being organised in association with the IAHV’s sister charity, The Art of Living Foundation, and will have trained over 6,000 drivers in the technique by the end of the year.

The second initiative was to encourage motorists to use hands free devices when talking on their mobile while driving, sponsored by Nokia. This public awareness campaign conducted by IAHV volunteers at Emarat petrol stations will be repeated in the coming months.

Another ongoing initiative is the distribution of Cool to be Safe windscreen stickers, sponsored by Gargash Enterprises, agents for Mercedes, which demonstrate the driver has pledged to be a safe and courteous driver.

Several more initiatives are planned before the finale, which will be a ‘Human Chain’ community event staged as an official part of the Dubai Shopping Festival. About 16,000 people are expected to the Zabeel Park happening which will include attempts to break three Guinness World Records.

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Wednesday, November 8- 2006 @ 16:46 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.

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