Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 26 August 2019

Changes to traffic rules on Saturday to curb accidents

Better driver training, education and publicity campaigns which highlight the danger of speeding and reckless driving are key to curbing deadly road accidents.
Heavy  traffic build-up on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. The nation’s motorists will have to measure up to more stringent safety regulations from this weekend. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Heavy traffic build-up on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. The nation’s motorists will have to measure up to more stringent safety regulations from this weekend. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

ABU DHABI // Better driver training, education and publicity campaigns which highlight the danger of speeding and reckless driving are key to curbing deadly road accidents.

On Saturday, there will be significant changes to traffic regulations, including the introduction of a law that penalises drivers if any passenger does not use the seat belt.

Residents younger than 21 will continue to receive a one-year licence, while new drivers will get a two-year licence. Expatriates will get a five-year, instead of a 10-year, licence.

The changes mean that drivers with a poor road history or a medical condition will be flagged up much sooner.

Interventions for bad drivers can also be made when they are young. To be sure, there is a need to ensure that expatriates with driving licences from their home countries are tested to meet the UAE’s requirements.

“A good way forward for the UAE would be to implement a culturally appropriate graduated licensing scheme,” said Dr Britta Lang, a traffic psychologist who leads Abu Dhabi’s Transport Research Laboratory.

“This needs to be combined with road safety campaigns and education measures tailored to young drivers, and should be coupled with enforcement on seat belts and mobile phone use.”

Experts have called for longer training periods for learner drivers to improve the standard of driving on the roads.

At present, a trainee driver is required to take a minimum of 40 practical lessons of 30 minutes each before they can take a test.

Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority plans to make lessons an hour long this year, and it is believed that there will be no reduction in the minimum number of practical lessons.

The Ministry of Interior has tapped into social media to raise national awareness about traffic safety.

In January, it launched Your Life Is More Important, its first unified traffic awareness campaign that urged motorists against using their mobile phones while driving.

The ministry also distributed awareness leaflets, booklets and posters in malls, petrol stations and public places.

Last month, it launched a campaign before amendments to the federal traffic law took effect.

Fines and penalties will be introduced on July 1.

The law compels every passenger to use a seat belt and for

children to be placed in child seats.

Until now, only the driver and the passenger seated alongside are required to wear seat belts.

The UAE aims to reduce road deaths to three for every 100,000 people by 2021 from 5.99 for every 100,000 in 2015.

rruiz@thenational.ae

Updated: June 27, 2017 04:00 AM

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