Drivers' behaviour is crucial to UAE road safety

Road safety experts say proper training of drivers is just as crucial as regular maintenance of vehicles if tragedies like the Al Ain crash are to be avoided.

Driver behaviour is as important as the regular maintenance of a vehicle to avoid collisions, road safety experts said yesterday, with proper training needed before anyone gets behind the wheel.

Monday's crash was caused by the lorry driver not keeping a safe distance between his vehicle and the bus, said Brigadier Gen Hussein Ahmed Al Harthi, the head of the Traffic and Patrols Directorate at Abu Dhabi Police. The lorry also had faulty brakes, which failed.

"Essential parts, such as brakes, need to be checked routinely," said Brig Al Harethi. "But we also ask that drivers are properly rested, making sure they drive no longer than eight hours in one day to avoid fatigue. It is much more difficult for a tired driver to avoid accidents and have better response times on the roads."

Last month, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) completed a project to revise training for drivers of heavy goods vehicles.

"Driver behaviour is just as important as the safety of the vehicle," said Ahmad Hashim Bahrozyan, the chief executive of the RTA licensing agency. "The new curriculum includes mandatory seminars ... that look at practical examples of emergencies on the road."

Emirates Transport, which supplies buses to public and private schools and universities, as well as companies, requires its drivers to take part in a series of ongoing training programmes.

It also operates a "reward and punishment" system that includes black points for every offence committed. If too many points are accumulated, a driver can be fired.

Published: February 6, 2013 04:00 AM