Belhasa Driving Center launches RTA endorsed ‘BE SAFE’ road safety campaign targeting primary school children

Published January 20th, 2007 - 03:02 GMT

Belhasa Driving Center (BDC), together with Road Transport Authority (RTA) and UHU, one of the leading manufacturers in Adhesive Products, today (Thursday, January 18, 2007) launched a country wide road safety campaign, ‘BE SAFE’, targeting primary school children in the UAE to educate students about road safety, at a press conference held at Grand Hyatt, Dubai. Experts from BDC will approach more than 30 schools during the month long programme starting in February 2007, supporting the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) new move to introduce road safety and traffic awareness as subjects to be studied in all private and public schools.

The ‘BE SAFE’ campaign, sponsored by UHU, is expected to reach 50,000 children through traffic safety demonstrations, posters, brain storming puzzles, fun games and educational books. Experts from the BDC will visit schools in the UAE to demonstrate traffic and safety rules to spread awareness on road safety among students. The campaign will also look into ways of solving common problems, such as parents parking on school keep clear zones, children not wearing seat belts, and children getting out of cars onto the road.

Speaking at the press conference, Saif Ahmed Belhasa, Chairman of Belhasa Driving Center, said, “Road safety remains one of the most serious health risks facing children in UAE and other developed countries. According to a study by Department of Community Medicine, UAE University, Al Ain, road traffic injuries claim the lives of more than 300 children aged 14 and under in UAE annually. This campaign is aimed at educating tomorrow's drivers today, and as such we strongly believe that road safety awareness should start from the primary level. As a part of our ‘BE SAFE’ campaign, we will distribute safety books to children to take home to parents on general road safety, seat belt safety and the dangers of driving at excessive speed. For the children themselves, the campaign reinforces the ‘holding hands’ message and equips them with educational material to understand road safety through fun filled puzzles.”

According to recent estimates by the Department of Health and Medical Services (DOHMS), children were estimated to comprise at least 12 per cent of the 2006 traffic deaths in Dubai, an increase of 10 per cent from the previous year, causing trauma specialists to warn parents about the importance of child safety. Most mortality (28.6 percent) occurred in the 1-4 year age group and head and neck injury was the major type of injury causing death (57.5 percent).

“Road traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the UAE. Annual statistics show that 636 accidents have been recorded in Dubai last year, resulting in many fatalities. With an objective of maximizing road safety and reducing accidents, RTA has been involved in various initiatives to spread awareness on the dangers of rash driving and to underline the importance of following traffic rules. Belhasa Driving Center’s ‘BE SAFE’ road safety campaign is the right platform for us to publicize our message of road safety, especially as it aims at educating tomorrow's drivers. At RTA, we clearly recognize the value of Belhasa Driving Center’s initiative, and we look forward to supporting them by offering our strengths to contribute in raising the awareness among children on the importance of safe and responsible driving,” said Al Moatasem Belah M, Traffic Awareness Manager-Traffic Department, Road Transport Authority (RTA).

The ‘BE SAFE’ campaign will involve teaching children to be safer road users and also aims to develop their knowledge and understanding of road traffic and hone behavioral skills to survive in the presence of road traffic. It will also seek to provide the children at risk with the necessary tools to make their daily walks safe. Further the impetus of this campaign is to create awareness amongst children about how and where to play safely, the direction of traffic by sight and sound and to understand and use traffic lights (with or without marked pedestrian crossings).

“Safety awareness is key to education, especially in the primary years. Road safety is something that affects us all and we are delighted to be working closely with Belhasa Driving Center to reduce accidents and fatalities on roads. The ‘BE SAFE’ campaign enables us to, yet again, demonstrate our commitment to the region in a socially responsible manner. I’m sure that these kinds of campaigns will help to reduce child fatality rate. By creating awareness we are saving lives, even if it is just the life of one child, it makes a big difference,” said Kish Kothari, Group Marketing Manager of Nishat General Trading (UHU Middle East).

Belhasa Driving Center has been involved in various activities aimed at promoting the concept of road safety in the UAE. As part of its commitment to promote safe driving practices, BDC organized SAFEX 2006, the world training conference, in association with IVV. Belhasa’s pioneered Driving Instructor Training Programme, the Middle East’s first of its kind programme, aims to further enhance the skills of driving instructors in the region through a comprehensive and scientifically-designed training course. BDC has also set new standards by providing specialized courses like defensive driving, Incident Avoidance, Progressive Driver Development, DIAmond Advanced Motorists course and UAE familiarisation course.

About Belhasa Driving Center:
Belhasa Driving Center, established on October 13, 2001, is the new name for Dubai Modern Driving Institute, which was set up more than a quarter century ago. The driving center, which is a member of the Saif Belhasa Group has witnessed exponential growth in the last few years and today boasts of an impressive fleet of over 600 training cars, 50 heavy duty trucks, 50 buses, 50 motorcycles, 25 light and heavy forklifts, backed by professional and well-trained team of instructors. Today BDC has set new standards in providing training courses for light motor vehicle, motorcycle, heavy vehicles, forklift safety operating, defensive driving and desert driving. In addition, BDC offers specialized courses like Incident Avoidance, Progressive Driver Development, DIAmond Advanced Motorists course, Chauffer course, UAE familiarisation course, Anti car hi-jacking, Surveillance security and pursuit driving courses. BDC has branches in Jumeirah, Al Wasl Club, Jebel Ali, Port Rashid, Karama, Al Qusais, Lamcy Plaza, Deira, Al Aweer and Century Mall, all of which have extensive shuttle transportation services to ferry students from their homes or offices.


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