UAE. Nearly 60% of UAE drivers talk on their mobile phones without headsets while driving with one in three of them answering a call or dialling a number always or mostly when they are behind the steering wheel.
A whopping 43.92% of drivers talk on their phones sometimes with only 31.76% stating that they never use their mobiles when driving.
The remarkable findings of the Zarca Interactive are yet another reason of concern for the country’s police forces who say that motorists continue to ignore risk of mobile phone use despite aggressive campaigns to stamp it out.
According to UAE federal traffic law the use of mobile phones while driving is banned and offenders pay fines of AED200 and get four black points on their driving license. This doesn’t seem to deter motorists from indulging in the use of their smart phone and other handset devices as a combined total of 59,000 violations were recorded in 2011 by Abu Dhabi and Dubai police.
“The findings of this study accurately mirror the driving behaviour patterns of drivers in the UAE. While talking on the mobile phone when driving continues to be a very popular offense, other traffic law violations have started becoming less poignant as awareness campaigns seem to be gaining traction amongst motorists,” said Javed Farooqui, Executive Director & Head Middle East and Africa, Zarca Interactive, a feedback management specialist.
Nearly 88% of those who participated in the survey said that they always use their seat belts with the rest indicating that they don’t always make use of it. Only a miniscule 0.68% admitted that they never make use of the seat belt.
Some 95% of those surveyed said that they always, mostly or sometimes make sure that other passengers are buckled in. High was also the percentage of those drivers who insist that children are seated on child seats with only four per cent saying that they never make sure of that.
“There seems to be a direct correlation between the changing behavioural patterns of UAE drivers in key road safety variables such as the use of seat belts and child seats with the raft of intensive awareness campaigns launched by the UAE government and the police forces across the emirates in recent years,” said George Kotsolios, Joint Managing Director, GolinHarris, a communications agency in Dubai.
This observation becomes all the more relevant considering the continuous bad habit of eating or drinking while driving, a road safety concern which hasn’t thus far been adequately addressed or penalised by the relevant authorities and which however poses a high risk. Some 77% of those asked said that they always, mostly or sometimes indulge in the odd burger or fizzy drink while driving with less than 20.95% saying that they never do it.
The need to embark on awareness campaigns highlighting the less obvious of driving violations is amplified through the same survey which also found out that 58.78 per cent of those asked stated that they use hazard lights during foggy weather, something which the police vehemently opposes as it is the cause of many road accidents.
About the survey
The sample of the survey is representative of the UAE’s demographic mosaic with 9.42% being local, 45.95% from Asia, 27.03 Arab expats, 11.49% of Western descend and 6.08% of various nationalities. Of the total of 444 respondents, 84.43% were male.