x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Friends say motorist was not texting when he died

Friends and family of a man who died in a car accident blame fatigue - and say they wish his death would not be used to combat mobile phone use while driving.

SHARJAH // Friends of Ahmed Hosam, who was killed in a road crash on Tuesday night, insisted that he was not using his phone while driving but was suffering from fatigue.

Mr Hosam, 22, was buried yesterday, and friends said it was unfair to blame the using of a mobile phone for his death.

"You will hear [the crash was because of] BlackBerry and all this empty talk," said his best friend, Zoheir Mazloum, 26, a finance student at Dubai University from Syria.

Indeed, a "public service announcement" was already circulating on BlackBerry Instant Messenger, mentioning Mr Hosam by name and asking recipients to "stop using that stupid blackberry while driving! Don't wait until you lose your soul ... bc this to prevent the use of phones while driving".

But, according to Mr Mazloum, Mr Hosam was a safe driver who never messaged while driving. However, he said, his friend worked long hours and commuted between Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

Two months ago, Mr Mazloum said, Mr Hosam crashed while driving on the Abu Dhabi motorway towards Dubai when he fell asleep. Although the left side of his car was wrecked he walked away uninjured.

"He complained all the time about his work, where he had to wake up every day at 5am to drive from Sharjah to Abu Dhabi and Al Ain and not finish until 8pm."

The fatal crash occurred about 7.30pm on Tuesday on the lorry road in Al Ain. Mr Hosam died of massive head injuries.

"According to the police report, the car swerved to the left ... it was a two-way road," his friend said. "Even the helicopter ambulance couldn't reach down to him because the road is in a very bad situation."

Another friend, Ahmad Alaaulddin, 23, said that even with as much driving as Mr Hosam did, none of his friends could believe he had been in a fatal crash.

"He was working in several places ... he was always going to different sites - in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Sharjah. He went all around, he was not sitting in an office," said Mr Alaaulddin.

"You hear something like that happen to a friend's friend, but not someone you actually know ... he was not an aggressive driver at all.

"He was an amazing person; everybody liked him. He had the best personality, he loved everybody and everybody loved him."

He is survived by his parents and two younger sisters. None of his family was available for comment.

hdajani@thenational.ae