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Thank you for the support! The petition has officially received 200 plus signatures to gain credibility and forward to the Traffic Department of RAK.  I contacted a journalist who has been helpful throughout the campaign Anna Zacharias who suggested to meet the authorities in person which would be more effective to send the message home and convince them of the gravity of the problem.

According to national newspaper, in 2008, E11 of RAK had the second highest number of accidents resulting in death or injury and the third highest number of deaths after the Emirates and Ittihad highways, accounting for seven of the emirate’s 97 deaths that year. There are six u-turns in a four km stretch which had history of reckless drivers wrecking the roads. The authorities keep blaming the drivers and do less to prevent the accidents there by closing the u-turn.

Thanks to all the people from twitter, forums, friends and colleagues to sign the petition, I will try to reach Sheikh Saud of RAK to convince him about the gravity of the situation and finally get our efforts to fruition by closing the u-turns to prevent accidents.

My next step is to make foundation which spreads safety awareness through media by making pictures and radio ads which will hit the emotional core and change the attitude of drivers. The foundation will be named as Suraya Foundation. If you do know anybody in radio stations, great graphic artists ready to do pro bono work please contact me at founder (at) surayafoundation.com. Read this blog for more updates. 

Update (28 April 2010): Formed the preliminary website  of Suraya Foundation (note it may experience usual downtime as it may be updating).

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Safety awareness poster (source: Department of Transport, UK)

There have been increase in campaigns to raise road safey awareness recently. Some of the videos you must have seen on TV by RTA or Abu Dhabi police may have been effective to reduce the number of accidents. You can watch some of the videos here – AD Police & RTA.

Road safety (Abu Dhabi)

AD has one of the highest rates of accidents and deaths in MENA which is way above the average.  I t is dissapointing to know not much has changed last year and it has been increasing where as in Dubai it has decreased if you take into account of post recession population reduction.

Though the videos and campaigns are better than nothing it doesnt stick to memory after being watched and if it doesnt stick people dont remember. I believe one of the most important reason for high accident rates in UAE is because of attitude. People from different nations are culturally programmed differently so their driving habits obviously differ. Once I was in the car of an Emirati friend who was driving on seed limit of 110 km/hr, his other emirati friend keep coaxing him to be “a man” and drive faster. This peer pressure surely has an effect on many youngers here and that may be one of the prime reasons why fatalities of Emiratis are much higher than expatriates even though they constitute only 20% of population. This doesnt mean Emiratis are the main cause of accidents in UAE there are other demographic groups repsonsible for the accidents.

Even after going through tedious process of getting licence here, the lessons are tossed in the air after month of passing the test.  Tail gating (which has been legal until recently),  over speeding, swift lane changing are common in this part of the world. One of the ways to tackle the issue is to make videos, ads and campaigns which makes an impression and viewer doesnt forget the ad long after watching it. Take an example of the ad at the top of the page which has been created by DoT, UK. The ad is catchy and easily graps attention, showing twisted body of the teenager with the stats “55 teenagers in street wish…” this leaves an indelible impression in the minds of the readers. If RTA could come up with something showing life of a young person with bright future erased due to accident caused by overspeeding or ads showing whole family vanished due to unsafe tyres with picture of charred car and clothes of a baby lying spilled with blood, and then a strong message, it will be remembered and people will be more cautious while driving.

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