Public awareness over seat-belt use in UAE remains stubbornly low, survey finds

A YouGov poll finds only one in four say they always buckle up in the back

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Oct 26: One of the student of German International School wearing seat belt during the handover ceremony of the ‘Sprinter’ school buses at Gargash Enterprises showroom on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. (Pawan Singh / The National) For News. Story by Eugene
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Less than a third of adults know about the dangers of not wearing a seat belt in the back seat, 18 months after it became compulsory, a survey suggests.

A YouGov poll found only 27 per cent of adults out of 1,016 surveyed said they always wore their seat belts in the back.

The study was commissioned by QIC Insured and RoadSafetyUAE in September and conducted by YouGov.

“International research shows that seat belts save the lives of 40 to 80 per cent of people involved in accidents, depending on the type of impact and the age of the user,” said Thomas Edelmann, managing director of RoadSafetyUAE.

“It is important that the UAE’s motorists are aware of the new seat-belt law and that everyone in a vehicle uses a seat belt and understands the protection they offer.

“To illustrate the importance of seat belts, a 2017 study by Abu Dhabi Police shows that 60 per cent of traffic fatalities could have been avoided by using seat belts.”

Mr Edelmann said there were clear challenges if the number of road fatalities were to be reduced to three people for every 100,000 inhabitants – a target in the UAE Vision 2021 – from the current 4.4.

Seventy per cent of people surveyed said they were aware that it was compulsory for to wear seat belts in the back seat. The figure is lower among the 25 to 29 age group at 62 per cent.

“There is still a long way to go in terms of educating people about the use of seat belts and strictly enforcing their use,” Mr Edelmann said.

Fifty-one per cent of people who did not wear seat belts said it was because: “When I sit in the back seat I feel safe enough without a seat belt.”

There is no need to wear a belt on short trips, according to 32 per cent of users, while 17 per cent said they would not be in an accident because they were safe drivers.

Mr Edelmann said there was an increase in awareness of the importance of wearing seat belts since the law was introduced last year, but not enough.

The survey suggested that the 27 per cent of adult passengers who always wore a seat belt was a 16 per cent increase from a similar survey in February last year.

Brigadier Saif Al Zari, commander-in-chief of Sharjah Police, previously said there is no excuse for failing to buckle up and that children cannot be placed on a parent’s lap on share a belt.

“Each person in the vehicle must wear a seat belt - one person-one seat belt,” said Brigadier Al Zari.


Read more:

Seatbelts to be made compulsory under new law

Drivers welcome move to buckle up in the back seat

No leniency for drivers shunning UAE seatbelt law