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Tue 15 Sep 2009 07:34 AM

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Teen invents new safety device linking seatbelt with motor

Khalid al Shammari has been hailed by Abu Dhabi police for his car safety invention.

An Emirati teenager has invented a device that prevents drivers from starting their car engine unless their seatbelt is fastened.

Khalid al Shammari, 18, has been hailed by Abu Dhabi police for his invention which he hopes will reduce the number of deaths in traffic accidents across the UAE.

“If you ask any Emirati why he does not wear the seat belt, he’ll tell you so his khandoura (the traditional white gown) does not get wrinkled,” he told the National.

“I started thinking, I’m not a genius when it comes to my school studies, so why not come up with something useful for humanity?”

Shammari created a circuit which links the seatbelt to the motor, battery and gear stick. When the seatbelt is unfastened the circuit is broken and the motor will not start nor the gear stick move.

“The next step I aim for, is to apply this system to a full-body car, so I can add an alert message if the motorist unbuckles his seat belt, warning him that the engine will stop in two minutes, for example,” he told the paper.

Abu Dhabi Police recognised his efforts by presenting him with a certificate and a cash prize of AED5,000 ($1,360).What do you think about this invention? Post your comments below.

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ZeTallGerman 11 years ago

This is a great idea and I applaud this young emirati's creativity and concern for drivers in the UAE... however, the design is unfortunately easy to "fool". I've seen hundreds of drivers do this throughout the years (especially taxi drivers): they fasten their seat belts but they aren't actually wearing them - the belt is going behind their backs across the seat. Only when they see a police car, etc. do they reach behind, pull the belt forward and across their chests... maybe the device needs to be adjusted so the car motor would only start if the belt is "stretched" a certain amount, indicating to the device that the belt is - in fact - being worn across a torso?

Um Alya 11 years ago

I am proud of the young emarati who is thinking about new ways to break cultural norms that are putting people in danger. I hope his idea is tested and I hope it is then implemented both in the UAE and everywhere else in the world.

yusuf 11 years ago

I think this "invention" is really not that great! Its in fact very easy to link the seat belt up with the cars engine or gear system. I think it can be very inconvenient at times. Consider you are in an emergency situation and need to start driving before you put the seat belt! What if someone is being pestered by a hooligan and wants to get in the car and run away! What if you want to move your car for just a few metres! Can be an annoyance I think.

Peter Simpson 11 years ago

Sorry to say, but this device already exists and has already been patented in the US, back in 2001. It has not yet gone into production, but has definitely been patented already. US Patent 6285937 - Seatbelt drive interlock system. Amongst it's features is the disabling of the engine if the belt is unplugged or not fastened. I suppose the Emirati could take credit for attempting to bring into production sooner albeit making it headline local news. As the US Patent holder, as far as I can tell has not done much work on it.

Dee 11 years ago

It should only be a matter of a striclty enforced law , like in UK

Jean-Pierre Avedis 11 years ago

Why immediately be critical about efforts put together by this young Emirati who deserves some prise as he first of all thought about finding a solution a secondly going ahead with the project and proving its functionality. The way some comments are formulated suggest some jealousy or what? Bravo to the initiative and bravo to the police who encouraged this gentleman. I am sure he is on a good path to prove his ingenuosity

ARABI 11 years ago

I agree with some of you that this is not n invention I drove a car in the US back in 1993 which would not start unless rhe seat belt is ckliked, but it is a good start for an 18 year old. some people tend to get frastrated when it comes to a local person being in the news.

Mona 11 years ago

Well done Khalid. It's great to see someone who cares about his safety and the safety of others and "does" something about it. I am sure that you will at least follow up on it. New ideas and inventions are very nice but they become great if they are followed up on and implemented. Keep up the good work!!!

Sq8 11 years ago

I am not trying to be critical of the efforts of this young Emirati...but what if you get a "spare seat belt buckle" and click it into place??? You can then start the car without having to wear the seat belt!

Expat Brat 11 years ago

Nice, if not necessarily original, idea. I agree with ZeTallGerman though. In Bahrain there is the same problem and the local lads get around being annoyed by the 'bleep' when the seat belt isn't fastened by stretching it behind the seat and then fastening it. I believe that better education, more stringent policing and higher fines, connected to loss of license would be the way to go. And campaigns that last more than just the 'Police Traffic Week' but the whole year with graphic pictures of what happens when you smash up a car. Just my 2c