x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Learning safer driving

Dubai Police's free driver safety courses during Gitex should contribute to making the UAE's roads safer.

Everybody complains about bad driving, but now Dubai Police are doing something about it. The deal, reported in The National yesterday, is simple: attend a workshop on safe driving, and police will remove eight black points from your record.

By any measure, there is no shortage of bad drivers on the UAE’s roads, and the handful of planned workshops, on the sidelines of Gitex in Dubai this month, will be able to accommodate only a small fraction of all those with black points. (We say nothing of those whose records should have these demerits, but do not.)

The UAE’s climate, geography and urban design all create great demand for private cars, especially since mass transit is still developing. Getting the accident rate down is a priority, but except in really blatant cases, suspending offenders’ driving licences can be impractical.

Education is better. Making offenders sit and study memorable photos or other audio-visual aids, so they understand what they have done wrong and why it is dangerous, is a practical way to improve the average level of driving skill. We hope this programme will become the pilot test for a much broader one, perhaps one that is mandatory rather than voluntary. People who make the roads dangerous need to learn to do better.