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Road Peace campaigners say ‘It’s cool to be safe’

United Arab Emirates: Wednesday, July 12 - 2006 @ 09:08

The design was revealed at a ceremony held at the Dubai Police Officers’ Club featuring 210 school children. The billboard design was presented as a ‘turtle’ created by the children holding foamboard panels featuring part of the design above their heads so that they interlocked to reveal the overall picture.

The campaign’s logo shows a human hand giving a victory sign inside a road sign, an internationally recognised symbol for road safety. The slogan “It’s Cool to be Safe” is an appeal especially aimed at younger drivers who statistically account for the highest percentage of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

The campaign is part of a nine-month Road Peace traffic safety initiative conceived by the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) with the support of Gargash Enterprises, the agent for Mercedes-Benz. The Police, the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), the Municipality and the organisers of the Dubai Shopping Festival have all endorsed the campaign, along with ace rally champion Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who is President of the Automobile and Touring Club for the UAE.

“We are appealing to Dubai motorists to drive more safely and show more respect and courtesy for other road users,” said Dr Prabhaker Rao, chairman of the IAHV Dubai branch. “Our volunteers will be distributing 100,000 specially designed car stickers which they sign on the back before sticking on their windscreen to show they have pledged to be safer drivers.”

Brigadier Mohamed Al Marri, Vice Director, Dubai Police Community Service, said that young drivers between the ages of 18 and 30 accounted for a disproportionately high number of fatalities.

“Young drivers are more likely than any other category to be involved in high speed accidents where the chance of being killed is highest. Traffic accident rates are continuing to soar and we must do everything we can in order to bring them down.”

Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “Some young drivers think it is cool to drive fast. But it is certainly not very cool to risk killing one of your own family or friends. We hope that when people see this sticker in someone else’s car it will remind them that when we are on the roads we are all brothers, because we all depend on other motorists driving safely for our very lives.”

“The cool to be safe slogan sends a very strong message of mutual respect for other road users that we are proud to support,” said Julian Redman, Marketing Manager of Gargash Enterprises.

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 five months of this year it had increased to an average of 26.4 per month.

Dr Rao explained that for the next week 100 specially trained IAHV volunteers would be dispensing the windscreen stickers to the general public and encouraging them to take the pledge to be safer drivers. They will also be distributed at the IAHV of ‘Stress Busting’ training workshops where so far over 1,000 motorists, primarily taxi and school bus drivers and driving instructors are taught how to relax and not get stressed and agitated while driving.

These workshops are being done in association with the IAHV’s sister organization, The Art of Living Foundation which will have trained over 6,000 drivers in the technique by the time of the campaign’s finale in December. This community event will be an official part of the Dubai Shopping Festival and will feature a ‘Human Chain’ at Zabeel Park. About 16,000 people are expected to attend and there will be attempts to break three Guinness World Records.

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Wednesday, July 12- 2006 @ 9:08 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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