Giv­ing kids the belt

Talk­ing tough to get road safety mes­sage across

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - By Ma­hak Man­nan @Ma­hakLFC ma­hak@7days.ae

Road ac­ci­dents are the sec­ond big­gest con­trib­u­tor of deaths in this coun­try – Leanna Blanken­berg, BMW

A new road safety cam­paign wants to get chil­dren into the habit of wear­ing seat­belts from a young age to help cut down on the num­ber of road deaths.

The move by BMW Mid­dle East in 20 schools in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Shar­jah seeks to re­in­force the im­por­tance of buck­ling up.

Car im­porters AGMC and Abu Dhabi Mo­tors are also tak­ing part in My First Li­cence - I Know My Road Rules.

It cre­ates a mini road travel sce­nario with in­struc­tors teach­ing stu­dents aged six to nine about road safety.

“Road ac­ci­dents are the sec­ond big­gest con­trib­u­tor of deaths in the coun­try and we want to make sure we try and bring down th­ese sta­tis­tics,” said Leanna Blanken­berg, Head of Cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions, BMW, Mid­dle East.

“The UAE traf­fic de­part­ment re­ported driv­ers aged 22-30 were to blame for 21 deaths in UAE, since Jan­uary 2016. We be­lieve in­tro­duc­ing good driv­ing be­hav­iour among chil­dren is vi­tal to chang­ing the driv­ing habits in younger peo­ple.

“Th­ese chil­dren will one day be mo­torists on our roads.” More than 100,000 se­ri­ous traf­fic of­fences were recorded in Abu Dhabi dur­ing the first quar­ter of this year, of which 18 per cent were for not wear­ing seat­belts.

“When we started the cam­paign in 2010, we did some re­search among our cus­tomers across the GCC and learnt that many of them ad­mit­ted do not buckle up,” said Blanken­berg.

“Others said they avoid it be­cause the kids don’t like it - which means a lot of peo­ple still do not re­alise how im­por­tant it is.

“Bring­ing about a change among adults is tricky. If we in­stil the cul­ture of buck­ling up from a young age, once the kids grow up, they will feel un­com­fort­able like a naked feel­ing or some­thing is miss­ing when the belt is not on.”

ON THE ROAD: Chil­dren take part in the work­shop

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