x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Police step up patrols near schools to cut accidents

School Without Accidents campaign aims to raise awareness of safe driving practices.

DUBAI // A traffic campaign aimed at ensuring the safety of school children has been launched to coincide with the start of the government school year today. The campaign, School Without Accidents, which will last for three months, hopes to reduce child road fatalities by deploying traffic patrols around schools. It also aims to raise awareness about safe driving practices.

Major Gen Said al Zafein, the head of the traffic department, said: "Traffic police presence around schools will help reduce fatalities, especially accidents involving children."   The department will deploy 47 officers and six patrols around schools to prevent vehicles from speeding or stopping in undesignated areas.   "Any car that stops in an area that is not designated for more than 10 minutes will be fined," Gen al Zafein said.

According to the traffic department, from the start of the year until the end of August, 203 people had been hit by cars, 31 fatally. It is unknown how many of these were children.   "The majority of accidents involving children are caused while children are crossing roads or while children are behind the car," Gen al Zafein said. "I urge parents not to allow their children to exit the car quickly when they drop them off at school. And, more importantly, make sure children use the door that opens onto [the pavement], and not the road."

The department will hold seminars for children, parents and school personnel to educate them about safe traffic practices. Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi Police's Directorate of Traffic and Patrols announced yesterday it had intensified the number of traffic patrols at intersections on roads in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region to ensure students' safety. Col Hussain Ahmed al Harthi, the head of the directorate, urged drivers to cooperate with police to create a safe environment "without traffic accidents" by keeping to speed limits and slowing down when approaching schools.

Col al Harthi also urged school bus drivers to ensure disembarking students were well clear of the bus before driving away.
wissa@thenational.ae