Only enforcement can change driver behaviour

Child car seats sales soar across the country after the new law comes into effect

Fitting a car seat is a motoring necessity for parents.
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Each year, too many families lose a child through injury in a car accident that could have been prevented. The grief that these families suffer – fathers, mothers, siblings and friends – is immeasurable, and the tragedy often impacts entire communities. According to statistics from 2013 from Health Authority-Abu Dhabi, 60 per cent of all child deaths in the capital alone were caused by road-traffic injuries. These injuries are also a cause of many long-term physical disabilities in children. There is clearly too much grief, too much sadness that could so easily be avoided altogether.

Yet, efforts over years to raise awareness among drivers about the importance of rear seat belts and (especially to those drivers who are also parents) of child car seats, yielded little result. We hope all this now changes with the enforcement of a new law that requires back-seat passengers to wear their seatbelts, while children under four years of age must be secured in a child car seat (though, actually, they should be in such restraints until they are tall enough and heavy enough to use normal seatbelts). Failure on either score, and the driver can be fined Dh400 and notch four black points on his or her licence.

As The National has detected, stores across the country have witnessed an increase in child car seats sales this month, while the number of people searching for car seats online has increased 158 per cent. So perhaps we can be guardedly optimistic.

Indeed, we have long argued that legislation or education alone - and even both in tandem - can't change driver behaviour. It is only when laws are supported by robust enforcement will the attitude of drivers change. And there is no greater deterrent than the palpable threat of being hit in the pocket. Don’t want to buckle up? There's nothing like a Dh400 ticket and four black points to remind you why you should.