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Traffic Week steers safe driving habits

Theatre performances, cash prizes and talks by the rally champion Mohammed ben Sulayem are among the activities planned to promote GCC Traffic Week.

ABU DHABI // Theatre performances, cash prizes and talks by the rally champion Mohammed ben Sulayem are among the activities planned to promote GCC Traffic Week beginning on Sunday. The slogan for the 26th year of the annual safety campaign is "Beware of Other People's Mistakes". "Eighty-five per cent of accidents are caused by human mistakes such as sudden overtaking or stopping, or jaywalking," said Brig Gen Ghaith al Zaabi, the head of the federal Traffic Department.

"Therefore, all motorists should be extra careful and anticipate other drivers' mistakes." Abu Dhabi Police will have a booth and activities at Marina Mall aimed at drivers, and a programme at Khalifa Park for children. Parents will also be given free child-safety seats for their cars. "This way we can cover all segments of society," said Col Hussein al Harethi, the head of Abu Dhabi Police's traffic section.

Families can enjoy theatre performances, contests, sport events and a traffic city, where children drive toy cars along pretend streets, for the next month at Khalifa Park. Admission is free. The police will also bring 300 schoolchildren to the park each day, Col al Harethi said. Saeed, the private company in charge of processing minor traffic accidents, will sponsor radio contests with Dh1,000 (US$272) prizes for winners.

Excluding Dubai, traffic deaths in the UAE dropped from 141 to 106 in January and February this year, compared with the same period last year. In Abu Dhabi, deaths dropped from 82 to 60. The decrease proves drivers are more aware of road safety, Gen al Zaabi said, "This shows that after 26 years of carrying out the traffic week, we are seeing some results," he said. Gen al Zaabi said in a few days an agreement would be signed with the Ministry of Education to have traffic safety taught in schools, although he could not say when it would be start.

Mr ben Sulayem, one of seven vice-presidents of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and also president of the UAE Automobile and Touring Club, will be the campaign's "ambassador", giving lectures to high school and Higher Colleges of Technology students on traffic safety. @Email:hdajani@thenational.ae

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