‘Buckle up- it saved me in this crash’

UAE firm re­leases road safety mes­sage af­ter ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing staff

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Sar­wat Nasir @Sar­watNasir

A mo­torist has de­scribed the mo­ment she be­lieves her life was saved be­cause she was wear­ing a seat­belt.

Lucy Han­non said she would have been thrown through the wind­screen of her Mit­subishi Pa­jero when it col­lided with an­other ve­hi­cle in Abu Dhabi had she not been buck­led up.

The Bri­tish HR worker was knocked un­con­scious in the ac­ci­dent on Mo­hamed bin Zayed Street in De­cem­ber.

Han­non (pic­tured) spoke about the or­deal, which left her on crutches for weeks, as part of a road safety cam­paign by her em­ploy­ers, out­sourc­ing firm Serco Mid­dle East.

Han­non said: “I hit my head on the side of the ve­hi­cle. I re­mem­ber wak­ing up and the car was on its side. If I didn’t have my seat­belt on, I would’ve been thrown through the win­dow. “I ex­pe­ri­enced how seat­belts save lives and learned to al­ways be cau­tious.” Serco launched its cam­paign as fig­ures from Abu Dhabi Po­lice show six peo­ple were killed and four oth­ers were se­ri­ously in­jured in ac­ci­dents in the first week of Ra­madan. Serco said it cre­ated the road safety video for its staff af­ter two se­ri­ous ac­ci­dents, but also to get the mes­sage to all road users.

A UAE firm is urg­ing other com­pa­nies to make sure their em­ploy­ees wear seat­belts.

Serco Mid­dle East, a ser­vice provider for the pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor, launched its cam­paign af­ter two mem­bers of staff were in­volved in se­ri­ous road ac­ci­dents last year.

Laura Kelly, As­sur­ance Di­rec­tor of Serco Mid­dle East, said the firm hopes the crashes will make peo­ple re­alise how vi­tal it is to buckle up.

She said: “We’ve de­vel­oped a road safety pol­icy where the driv­ers and pas­sen­gers in the ve­hi­cle must have their seat­belts on.

“No one wants to tell their cus­tomers that we couldn’t de­liver what we needed to be­cause we have got­ten into an ac­ci­dent and the pas­sen­gers weren’t wear­ing their seat­belts. Our key mes­sage is that seat­belts save lives.

“We’ve used pledges to de­liver that mes­sage in our com­pany, where em­ploy­ees have said they will wear their seat­belt.”

One Serco em­ployee, who is based in Saudi Ara­bia, frac­tured her left shoul­der in a road crash in which she wasn’t wear­ing a seat­belt.

Cathie Ledesma (pic­tured), a house­keeper at Serco Saudi Ser­vices, had to take 61 days off work. Speak­ing in a cam­paign video she said: “We left our ac­com­mo­da­tion about 10.15am and we en­coun­tered a very rude and ag­gres­sive driver. Ev­ery­thing hap­pened quickly. Our minibus got into an ac­ci­dent, rolled over and hit a tree. I was thrown around in­side. “I re­ceived a bone frac­ture on my left shoul­der be­cause I didn’t wear my seat­belt. We were all taken to hos­pi­tal.” She added: “My life has been turned up­side down be­cause get­ting in an ac­ci­dent is no fun. The first thing that comes to my mind is to push the safety rule of wear­ing your seat belt all the time.”

Serco is the lat­est firm in the UAE to launch a road safety cam­paign for em­ploy­ees. Free­dom Pizza in­tro­duced cus­tomised mo­tor­bike hel­mets for de­liv­ery bik­ers, which in­clude pic­tures of their fam­ily mem­bers to send a “hu­man­ised mes­sage” to other driv­ers on the road that they also have a fam­ily and to drive safe around them.

Last year, 675 peo­ple died in road ac­ci­dents in the UAE. David Greer, CEO of Serco Mid­dle East, said: “Ar­guably the most dan­ger­ous thing we do in the Mid­dle East is drive on the roads. Sadly the stats speak for them­selves. And that’s why we launched the road safety pol­icy.”

SMASH_UP: The ac­ci­dent in­volv­ing Cathie Ledesma (pic­tured be­low)

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