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UAE parents falling behind in seatbelt use

More than 50% of parents in the United Arab Emirates are unaware that it is the law that seatbelts need to be worn by children of all ages, according to the results of a new survey.

The poll from Infiniti Middle East discovered that 55% of parents did not know that children wearing safety belts in a motor vehicle became mandatory in the UAE two years ago.

The poll surveyed over 800 expats and Emiratis for the sake of a nationwide road safety campaign.

Most of those responding to the survey were female and between the ages of 30 and 39.

One in four parents believed that children only needed to wear seatbelts after they turned three years old, while one in five parents thought that only children that were at least six years old had to wear them when in a motor vehicle.

However, in July 2017 it became law in the UAE that all occupants of a vehicle have to be wearing a seatbelt regardless of their age, with children under the age of four being required to use a child seat.

Any driver who does not ensure that this is the case could be faced with four black points on their driving licence in addition to a fine of Dh400.

Infiniti Middle East’s managing director Markus Leithe says that the new survey shows that many parents in the UAE remain confused about safety rules, particularly in regard to children.

The survey also asked parents which negative behaviour they displayed on the roads that their children were most likely to imitate, and almost 50% of those who responded admitted that the answer would be failing to wear a seatbelt.

It is obvious that greater awareness is required to change the behaviour of the public, according to Deema Hussein from Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

One of the RTA’s key priorities is the proper use of seatbelts as it strives to improve safety on the roads of the UAE for parents and children alike, Hussein says.

The RTA has run a variety of different initiatives, plans and projects over the years to try to make people more aware of how to use seatbelts correctly, and will continue to work on such campaigns with the private sector to try to change public behaviour.

Thousands of drivers all over the UAE were fined in the months following July 2017, including as many as 7,600 in Abu Dhabi within just months.

A study from the University of Sharjah earlier in 2019 discovered that only one in eight passengers used seatbelts when riding in the back seat of a car, again demonstrating the public’s sluggishness in regard to changing motoring habits.

The study observed 1,903 vehicles with a total of 3,569 back seat passengers, and just 12.3% were actually wearing seatbelts.

16.2% used seatbelts in Fujairah, 14.7% used them in Dubai, and it was at its lowest in Sharjah at 8.8%.

Anyone driving a car in the UAE is legally required to have car insurance for financial protection in the event of accidents.