No more roadkill! Dubai's streets safer for children

Published May 25th, 2013 - 04:00 GMT
Awareness campaigns have led to a decrease in children dying on the roads of Dubai. (Image for illustrative purposes only).
Awareness campaigns have led to a decrease in children dying on the roads of Dubai. (Image for illustrative purposes only).

Intensive road safety campaigns and awareness activities have helped curtail road fatalities in Dubai as the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) reported a 40 per centdrop in death of children under the age of 15 years in road accidents.

The campaigns over the last three years have targeted families and young mothers to educate them about the importance of seat belts, child seats and adherence to traffic rules.

Regular programmes are held in hospitals and health care centres in collaboration with Dubai Health Authority.

The traffic safety strategy of raising the awareness of families is built on sensitizing parents about crashes and how to avoid them, with particular emphasis on fatal accidents in the age group of less than 15 years. Children usually hit the street running, thus vulnerable to run-over risks, as recently two children lost their lives at Al Mamzar and Al Maraqqabat in tragic car accidents,” said Hussain Al Banna, Director of Traffic at RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency.

He added that RTA is working continuously to urge parents to pay utmost attention to their children when crossing streets, boarding or alighting from vehicles, especially near car parking, parks and malls.

“We are also encouraging them to have child seat on board, avoid being occupied with driving distractions, and explain to them the key causes of horrific traffic accidents resulting in casualties and deaths,” explained Al Banna.

Apart from the drop in child fatalities on roads over the last three years, RTA statistics also reveal a 64 per cent drop in traffic mortalities triggered by women.

“Most events targeting families in Dubai are held in Latifa and Dubai Hospitals’ maternity sections under the theme Children Safety.’ Coordination is in hand with the Dubai Health Authority and hospitals management to hold a series of awareness lectures and panels for mothers about protecting children from crashes and how to avoid them. The TRA has recently started the campaigns at Health Centres in Dubai as well,” added the Director of Traffic.

The Child Safety Programme was launched in late 2008 and since the beginning of this year it has enrolled over 1,400 new mothers as its members. The Programme includes all family-oriented events undertaken in hospitals and health centres in Dubai.

Al Banna called upon all mothers and fathers to monitor their children’s outdoor movement especially near car parks, public parks and shopping malls. “Parents must always assume a traffic accident can occur any time, considering children’s swift manoeuvres and unexpected movements,” he warned.

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