Hefty fines, blackpoints penalties and massive awarness campaigns  by the police seem to have failed as nearly 60 per cent of drivers still use phones without handsfree devices, a survey has revealed.
On in three of drivers surveyed said they were answering a call or dialling a number always or mostly when they are behind the steering wheel, and 43.92 per cent of drivers talk on their phones sometimes while only 31.76 per cent said that they never use their mobiles when driving.
According to UAE federal traffic law , the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving is banned and offenders pay fines of Dh200 and get four black points on their driving license, and over 59,000 tickets were issued in Abu Dhabi and Dubai last year for the violation.
“This is not a temporary campaign against mobile phone users but an ongoing crackdown in which those using hand-held mobile phones while driving are punished for endangering their lives and the lives of others,” Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Director of the Traffic Department, said.
The findings of the independent survey by Zarca Interactive, a feedback management specialist, 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 Dubai Police ’s Traffic Department, 15,233 tickets were issued for the violation in the first four months of 2012.
Nearly 88 per cent 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 and 0.68 per cent admitted that they never make use of the seat belt.
Some 95 per cent 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.
Some 77 per cent 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 per cent saying that they never do it, and 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.
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