Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 July 2020

Bus drivers to teach UAE pupils road safety

This month, an initiative was launched by the bus company School Transport Services and RoadSafetyUAE that will see pupils taught road safety by drivers and bus assistants.
Tharanatha Tharanatha, a school bus driver. Pawan Singh / The National
Tharanatha Tharanatha, a school bus driver. Pawan Singh / The National

DUBAI // Traffic experts are turning buses into classrooms, where drivers and attendants will educate pupils on road safety going to and from school.

Road accidents are the leading cause of death for children under 14 but there is no mandatory road safety teaching in school curriculums.

The hope is that children will learn to protect themselves and spread the safe-driving message to their families and friends.

Last month, bus company School Transport Services and RoadSafetyUAE started to ensure that pupils are taught road safety by drivers and assistants.

Key messages from drivers include the distraction caused by mobile phones, the risks of failing to buckle up and how to safely cross roads on the way home.

“School buses are the extended classroom for real-life learning,” said Thomas Edelmann, founder of the road safety group.

“School bus drivers and attendants can engage the children on a daily basis about proper and safe behaviour.

“They are experts in applied road safety and are therefore crucial in the process.

“As young ambassadors, think about the power of this statement: ‘Daddy, I learnt it is dangerous to drive in a distracted manner so please put your mobile phone away when you drive’.”

Dr Reem Al Ameria, a child-safety expert in Abu Dhabi, said the extended classroom concept was “a significant step to building an effective road safety culture”.

“School bus drivers and attendants should be informed and educated when it comes to the basics of road safety,” said the mother of three.

“Certainly, buses are safer than cars and we encourage parents to put their children on school buses not only ­because they are safer, but to cut traffic congestion and ­pollution.”

To further boost safety, pupils will be taught how to ­become responsible drivers so that when they are old enough to take driving lessons they will be well versed in road safety and etiquette.

“We must nurture the next generation of responsible motorists,” Mr Edelmann said.

“Once we instil proper and safe behaviour in the children of today, they will behave better behind the wheel.”

Emirates Transport, which carries 236,500 pupils in the UAE, has launched traffic safety initiatives for schoolchildren.

“Pupils are taught about the golden rule, a system that ensures they follow safe steps when boarding and disembarking the bus,” said Abdullah Al Ghufli, the company’s executive director.

“Thousands of brochures are distributed and seminars are being held to ensure the message of our other campaign, Safety Points, reaches as many people as possible.

“This initiative identifies the roles and responsibilities of each party, including pupils, parents and motorists, throughout the school transport process.”

Emirates Transport has a smartphone application called Safety Games for nursery and kindergarten ­pupils.

“We take the safety of school pupils very seriously but we believe it is a shared responsibility of the whole society,” Mr Al Ghufli said. “We work with all public and private schools to ensure the message of traffic safety is delivered.”

rruiz@thenational.ae

Updated: April 1, 2017 04:00 AM

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