It was the first time I entered the court in RAK. The hearing was supposed to be on 10 a.m but it took much more longer than that. After an hour of waiting, the attorney comes up to us and tells us that wee may have won the case which is very good news for us and asks all the family members names which is a great sign as usually the money paid by insurance is provided and split to all the members of the family. Nothing has been confirmed but I hope justice has to be served after 2 years.

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It has been more than one and half years that my sister passed away and the case has been still pending. The judge has preposterously mentioned my sister commited suicide, released French person who spent three months and Ayesha only living witness still supposedly in amnesia.  I attended the people’s court in RAK and they decide 10 cases at once. When my sister’s case was mentioned he suddenly changed the date to october without any reason. It has already been psotponed thrice. It seems I still have to find other ways to lobby the governement and seek justice for my sister.

U-turns to be closed

After successful completion of the petition I decided to show it to authorities who had the power to close it down. On May I metup with the Head of Traffic Police in RAK along with a journalist of The National and an official of Public Works both of them said “Yes, Yes we will close down the u-turn!“, the official in Public Works went further stating “When I first got the job I suggested closing down the u-turn“, I was very happy and the journalist went ahead to print this news . I specifically asked them “Do you think it would be useful to do a professional survey done on the roads?” He replied go ahead “Anything that helps in ur analysis (wait a min didn’t you just say you decided to close the u-turn?) we would encourage to do it“.

On June I devoted my time to start road safety organization Suraya Foundation and at the same time tried to get the permission to survey the site. It took me three days initially to figure out which department provides the permission (each one kept pointing to each other). Nobody spoke Arabic and each person pointed another. I drove back again during the last week to get the permission and waited 2 days for 3 hours each day in his office but he was always busy. I tried talking to the official (who said he tried to close on first day of job) and he asked me to wait then suddenly asked “Why are you doing this?” I said “To save lives….” He interrupted and asked “I know, but why are you actually doing this?” That moment my jaw dropped and I said “I dont know you tell me“.  After waiting for one more hour the secretary tells me “Sorry the director does not have even one minute to meet“. In frustration I drive back to Traffic Police to give one last try and I just drop into random office who asked me for specifications of camera and then forwards me to guy whom I addressed Major. He jokingly replied “I aint major I will break your mouth if you say that“. The Major had ladies smoking in his office, it seems they were giving discounts for speeding tickets like Abu Dhabi. He then graciously led me to a room where after 30 minutes they give me permission letter which had period wrong and had to be corrected.  Phew! Just getting permission to survey the area took 26 hours of my time.  I then the same day handed the permission letter to Managing Director of i4Research company who completed the survey last week and would be analyzing the data.

The thing I learned is persistence and determination may pay but in the end it is up to the authorities to get the end results.

Source:Mena

Just read the news here that the General Commander of Dubai Police, Dhahi Khalfan Tamim stating that “The Dubai traffic police last year managed to reduce traffic-related deaths to 12.8 per 100,000, from 17.8 in 2008 and 21 in 2007, he said. This year, the target is to reduce the number to 11.8.” Didn’t the population of UAE reduce in 2009 with the recession here? Did they achieve viable results?

Tamim further added traffic safety will be a priority for the police for the next 10 years, for which they will act under a four-pronged strategy.

i, Correcting common mistakes

ii,Road monitoring

iii, Vehicle monitoring

iv, Public road safety awareness

Wouldn’t it be better to put Road safety awareness first? It would have been much easier to change the behaviors of drivers using time tested methods of prevention than deploying police to monitor the maniac drivers?

According to General Tamim, “Statistics have shown that improper driving habits cause 90 per cent of traffic accidents in Dubai, while faulty road engineering contributes to another three per cent

I dont know the source of this stats but it is enough to create a sense of urgency to start tackling the issue by changing the attitude fo the drivers.

Source: www.surayafoundation.com

Thanks for voting!

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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