Using a mobile phone while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is the primary cause of serious injuries and road deaths in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, according to the results of a new study.
The new survey, which was carried out by Abu Dhabi Police, suggests that between 75% and 80% of all road deaths and serious injuries in the capital are caused by motorists browsing the internet and talking on social media and on phones while driving.
Drivers who are distracted by their mobile phones often end up suddenly changing lanes, resulting in serious road accidents, the study claims.
At Al Bateen Majlis, Abu Dhabi Police’s deputy director of the central operations sector’s traffic and patrols directorate, Brigadier Salem bin Barak Al Dhaheri, gave a lecture on mobile phones.
The lecture, called ‘Balanced Leadership … Respecting the Rights of Road Users’, noted that motorists, especially the younger generation, have made a habit of using mobile phones while they drive and that the practice is an enormous risk to public safety.
Motorists should refrain from making use of mobile phones while in charge of a motor vehicle as it prevents them from fully concentrating on their driving, often causing the car to veer out of its lane and cause an accident, Al Dhaheri claims.
Many road accidents are the result of negligence and poor concentration primarily because drivers are distracted by talking on their mobile phones, social media chat, or even shooting videos while behind the wheel, Al Dhaheri adds.
Motorists have also been warned by traffic authorities in the UAE to stop taking photographs, known as ‘selfies’, while behind the wheel of a car as this also distracts their attention.
This can hamper a driver’s reaction to traffic movements, causing them to swerve into other lanes without notice or jump red signals.
Violating the traffic laws of the UAE by using mobile phones while driving can see drivers hit with four black points in addition to a fine of as much as Dh800.
Abu Dhabi Police organised the lecture in order to try to spread a culture of good driving and to encourage people to adhere to traffic regulations and rules in order to promote road safety.
Parents have also been urged by traffic authorities to avoid allowing children to ride bikes or walk unsupervised through residential neighbourhoods as it can cause accidents if inattentive drivers do not notice them.
Motorists in the UAE have also been advised to reduce the speed of their vehicles at zebra crossings and to give pedestrians priority when they reach uncontrolled crossing areas.
Traffic accidents occur at an all too regular frequency in the UAE, which makes it all the more important for people to ensure that they are covered by a car insurance policy.
It is actually the law in the UAE that people have to take out at least a basic form of third-party car insurance, but other and more comprehensive policies are also available.