Campaigners RoadSafetyUAE say more improvements needed despite rise in awareness since 2017 law change
More motorists in the UAE are using their seat belt for all journeys since the introduction of the Federal Traffic Law which took effect on July 1 last year but more improvements are needed, according to new research.
Campaigners RoadSafetyUAE said that while more drivers and passengers are using seat belts since the regulations, the figures are still some way below the 100 percent mark.
The amendments to the law last year included a AED400 fine and a penalty of four traffic points for drivers and all passengers for not putting on seat belts.
The amendment will also obliged drivers to provide child seats for children under the age of four, also introducing a fine of AED400 for drivers who allow children under the age of 10 and below 145cm to sit in the front.
According to figures for before and after the changes, 3 percent more drivers said they always use a seat belt, up to 72 percent.
The research also showed that front-seat passengers who always use a seat belt rose 2 percent to 73 percent while adult passengers in the backseat who always wear a seat belt increased by 16 percent to 27 percent.
The survey also showed that the role of the "responsible driver" is improving, with 56 percent always asking passengers to buckle up, an increase of 7 percent while 76 percent said they have proper child seats/boosters, up 10 percent.
"However, it must be stated, that all these mentioned values must be at 100 percent, according to the new law. Some of the usage levels still are alarmingly low," said Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE.
"There is still a long way to go, both in further educating the use of seat belts as well as strictly enforcing the use. This is especially true for the segments of ‘young’ drivers and the segment of ‘Emirati’ drivers, as these 2 segments show below-average values."
He added: “International research shows, that seat belts safe lives between 40-80 percent, depending on the type of impact and the age of the user. In our opinion, the use of seat belts is the single biggest opportunity to reach the objectives of the ‘UAE Vision 2021’, namely to reduce the fatalities to 3.0 per 100,000 inhabitants.”
The research also revealed that only 82 percent of respondents knew about the new seat belt law, falling to 71 percent in the age group of 18-24.