Thousands of children in Dubai learn road-safety basics and earn driver’s licence for mini pedal cars
DUBAI // Three thousand children between the ages of four and nine have been taught the basics of road safety in an interactive environment.
My First Licence – I Know My Road Rules helped children from seven schools across Dubai to learn basic road rules and signs, before giving them the chance to put what they learnt into practice using mini pedal cars with handbrakes and seat belts.
A track set up at schools was complete with road signs, a pedestrian crossing, a roundabout and traffic lights.
The fourth annual campaign was endorsed by Dubai Police and Col Saif Al Mazrouei, director of the traffic department, said such campaigns provided the long-term solutions to improving road safety.
“It is important to teach children about road safety at an early age so that they can grow into more responsible drivers when the time is right,” he said.
“We support these programmes as they leave a lasting impression and create the responsible drivers of tomorrow.”
Roshanara Sait, director of Ciel Marketing & Events, which organised the campaign along with Total Marketing Middle East, said: “Our programme teaches children the importance of respecting road rules at all times.
“Starting to educate them at an early age will surely help them become responsible road users.”
Each child who completed the practice driving session received a licence carrying their name, photograph and school.
“While the card is not a driving permit, it does serve as tangible evidence that the recipient is aware of basic road-safety guidelines,” said Ms Sait, who came up with the idea in 2006.
The campaign ended yesterday and was taken to children at Gems Royal Dubai School.
The children were more than happy to take part in the interactive workshop, expressing their excitement to drive the mini vehicles.
Seven-year-old Laya said she already knew most of the road signs taught in the class but enjoyed putting her knowledge into practice.
“It’s fun to learn how to drive,” she said. “I knew some of the things and signs they were talking about, but I learnt something new about bicycles.
“If you’re riding a bicycle, you have to put your hand left or right to tell others which way you are going.”
Nader, 7, was excited about getting his “licence” and said that learning about safety rules was fun.
“We are learning about road-safety rules, and it was very fun to drive the cars. There was a policeman and everything,” he said, stressing how important it was to wear a seat belt.
Meanwhile, Axel and Yifan, both 7, agreed that they should always look both ways when crossing the road.
“You have to look both ways to make sure there are no cars,” said Axel, who added that he promised to warn his parents if they are driving too fast.
Yifan said her parents did not speed at all and were very safe drivers, adding: “I will also always be a safe driver.”
David Kalife, the managing director of Total Marketing Middle East, said: “The aim of this campaign has always been to instil a culture of ‘safety first’ in the minds of future drivers.
“Over the last few years, we have noticed that children have begun to influence their parent’s driving habits as well, which is a wonderful development.”
According to Dubai Police figures, there were more than 1,500 injuries on the emirate’s roads last year among those in the 18 to 35 age group.
This figure represents 62 per cent of all road-traffic injuries in Dubai.