Drive safe, save lives: Haad launches a road safety campaign in Abu Dhabi

Published June 1st, 2009 - 12:01 GMT

Drive safe, save lives: Haad launches a road safety campaign in Abu Dhabi

Aim is to educate residents on the dangers of speeding and the benefits of seat belts
 
As part of its efforts to educate the residents of Abu Dhabi, especially the younger generation, on the importance of safe driving, the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD) today launched a road safety campaign across the emirate. The Road Safety campaign launched under the theme ‘Drive Safe, Save Lives’, has been developed utilising the testimonial of BP-Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s driver, Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, as the campaign’s Brand Ambassador.  

HAAD’s main objective of the campaign is to reach out and engage the maximum number of people and spread the importance of road safety. The goal of the campaign is to educate and encourage the public about road safety, specifically in the areas of speeding and seat belts.

While announcing the HAAD Road Safety campaign, H.E. Dr. Ahmed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Chairman of HAAD, said: “Abu Dhabi has one of the world’s highest rates of road deaths – an incidence of 27.4 deaths per 100,000. The fatality rate is particularly high amongst the younger male population. This is alarmingly high rate and we need to educate and encourage our younger citizens about road safety.”

According to recent reports, road injuries have been one of the major cause of deaths across the Emirate. Over speeding and not wearing a seatbelt are the two key reasons for these casualties. For every 1 km/hr increase in speed there is a 3% increase in the incidence of injury crashes and a 5% increase in the risk of a fatal crash. And reports suggest that seat-belts help reduce fatal or serious injuries by 40 to 65%.

Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi’s profile as a leading rally driver will help the campaign leverage inspiration from a local role model. HAAD believes that it is extremely important to educate the young minds about road safety as it gets embedded in their minds. Research conducted by HAAD has shown that very strong road safety messages that use guilt or fear to change driving behaviours, especially among the youth, have little effect.  But young people are much more inclined to listen to messages from positive role models.  Therefore HAAD is hoping that Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi’s involvement in the campaign will remarkably influence safe driving and responsible behaviour on the road.

Adding further, Dr. Al Mazrouei said: “The Road Safety campaign is part of HAAD’s larger goal of optimising the overall health of the population based on promoting health through education. As one of the biggest killers in the emirate, many road deaths can be avoided if people simply drove within the speed limit and used seat belts. To help get this message across to the youth in Abu Dhabi, we are very pleased and thankful for the unconditional support and cooperation from the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, who is the perfect role model for a campaign targeting safe driving.”

Speaking at the launch, BP-Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s driver, Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, said, “I have been blessed with excellent driving skills, which has allowed me to succeed professionally as a rally driver. I realize that my success provides me with the perfect platform to educate those in my country about something that is very close to my heart; road safety.  I would like to thank HAAD for giving me the opportunity to use my status as a professional driver to promote road safety and highlight its importance in order to save lives. By associating with HAAD, my aim is to encourage the youth to remember the gift of God – life.  The youth need to be educated to indulge in safe driving practices and be responsible citizens.”

The campaign will spread the message through various communication channels while educating the public on the repercussions of reckless driving and instilling the importance of life.


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