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UAE Faces Distracted Driving Crisis: Mobile Phone Usage Endangers Lives on Roads

UAE Faces Distracted Driving Crisis: Mobile Phone Usage Endangers Lives on Roads

In the UAE, the peril of distracted driving looms large as statistics reveal that one out of every three motorists uses mobile phones while behind the wheel. This alarming behavior has contributed to 85 fatalities in 2022 alone, highlighting the urgent need for road safety measures.

According to data from the Ministry of Interior, distracted driving has emerged as a significant cause of road accidents and fatalities. A recent survey commissioned by RoadSafetyUAE and Al Wathba Insurance shed light on the prevalence of this issue, with the use of mobile phones identified as a major source of distraction among motorists.

The survey, conducted in January 2024 and involving 1,001 respondents, revealed that while 90% of drivers acknowledge the dangers of distracted driving, only 81% claim to always maintain full concentration on the road. This discrepancy underscores the need for greater awareness and adherence to safe driving practices.

Moreover, certain demographics, such as young drivers aged 19-24 and Arab and Western expatriates, exhibited even lower levels of concentration while driving, with only 77-76% reporting consistent focus on the road.

Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE, emphasized the critical importance of undivided attention while driving, asserting that all motorists must remain fully concentrated to ensure their safety and that of others on the road. He urged drivers to reflect on the various sources of distraction, including their own behavior, passengers, and external factors, to mitigate risks and prevent accidents.

A key takeaway from the survey is the effectiveness of simple measures like switching off or silencing mobile phones to enhance concentration while driving. A staggering 77% of respondents attested to the efficacy of this approach, indicating its potential to significantly reduce distracted driving incidents.

Muralikrishnan Raman, chief finance and operations officer of Al Wathba Insurance, emphasized the collective responsibility of stakeholders in addressing distracted driving. He called for concerted efforts from corporations, governmental bodies, the media, and road users to raise awareness and promote safe driving practices.

In addition to mobile phones, the survey identified various other causes of distracted driving, including navigation systems, hands-free phone calls, reaching for objects in the car, and adjusting air conditioning. External factors such as the behavior of other drivers, complex road systems, and advertising billboards also contribute to distractions on the road.

To combat distracted driving, respondents highlighted the importance of speed limiters, the presence of speed cameras, and navigation systems as effective measures to maintain focus while driving. Additionally, factors like being alone in the car, listening to one’s own music playlist, and police presence were cited as aids in concentration.

As the UAE strives to enhance road safety and reduce traffic accidents, it is imperative for motorists to prioritize safe driving practices and avoid distractions behind the wheel. By raising awareness, implementing effective measures, and fostering a culture of responsible driving, the UAE can mitigate the risks associated with distracted driving and safeguard the lives of road users.

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