More than 5,000 members of the UAE community participated in BMW Group Middle East’s ‘Stay Alert. Stay Alive.’ road safety campaign this month, exceeding expectations. Two Awareness Days were held at the Dubai Creek Park on Friday 09 April and on the Abu Dhabi corniche on Friday 16 April respectively; with the campaign continuing into BMW importers AGMC’s and Abu Dhabi Motor’s showrooms for the weeks following the Awareness Days.
The BMW team, working in partnership with the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD), the Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA), Abu Dhabi Municipality, Dubai Municipality and the Emirates Driving Institute (EDI) in Dubai, provided interactive demonstrations to families about the correct usage of child safety restraints. BMW and MINI cars with the various child seats restraints were installed and displayed; while the EDI’s seat belt convincer and ‘accident roll car’ were used to enlighten people about the consequences of not wearing a seat belt in an accident. Educational brochures were also handed out highlighting the importance of using a seat belt and child safety restraints in vehicles.
Families were invited to check the weight and height of their children to assess which child safety restraint was most appropriate. Over 3,000 child safety booster cushions were distributed to families whose children were between the ages of seven and 11 year old and weighing between 22 and 36 kg, the internationally recognised safest weights.
Commenting on the initiative, Phil Horton, Managing Director of BMW Group Middle East, said: “We are extremely pleased with the UAE community’s enthusiastic response to our road safety campaign, and feel it has been a very successful first step in educating drivers about the dangers of not wearing seat belts or using safety restraints to protect their children when driving.”
BMW Group Middle East’s road safety campaign was launched on the 23 March 2010 as a result of unsettling key findings of a survey of BMW and MINI customers across the GCC. Over 70% of drivers surveyed said that they travel with their children or families, with many of these admitting that they and their passengers did not use seat belts all the time, especially those who sit in the rear. When it came to protecting children, 94% of respondents said that it was important for children to use restraints but 37% confessed that their children didn’t use them. In fact, most admitted to holding their children in their arms as a passenger, an extremely dangerous practice.
According to a study conducted by the UAE University in 2008, 98% of children travelling in a car were not restrained and 23% of children travelled in the front seat, which is illegal in the UAE for children below the age of ten. In the same study, on average only 29% of drivers wore seat belts.
Information captured during the UAE ‘Stay Alert. Stay Alive.’ road safety campaign showed varying reasons for why people did not buckle their children into safety restraints::
- “We know we should use them but we aren't sure which child seat to buy”
- “Our child does not like the safety restraints and cries when we try strap them in”
- “We thought that when they grew out of the infant seat they didn’t need a safety seat anymore”
Child restraints have been shown to reduce infant deaths by approximately 70%, and injuries by between 54% and 80% in an accident. It is also known that 83% of belted and restrained children remain uninjured in accidents. Booster seats for children aged between four and 11 years old have been shown to reduce the risk of injury by 59% compared to seat belts alone.
Horton continued: “The data we captured throughout the first phase of our campaign has highlighted the need for continued education around the use of child safety restraints and their importance for saving lives. We thank the Dubai Road Transport Authority, Health Authority Abu Dhabi and Emirates Driving Institute for working together with us for such a worthwhile campaign.”
Child safety seats and booster cushions are still available from BMW Group importers:
AGMC, Sheikh Zayed Road and Abu Dhabi Motors, Corner of 32 and Electra Street.
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