Safety decal on 450 government vehicles in bid to reduce run-over deaths in Abu Dhabi

The sticker, which will be displayed on Abu Dhabi Distribution Company vehicles, has symbol of an adult and a child on a marked crosswalk, and the phrase “We Ensure Pedestrian Safety”.

ABU DHABI // A government company has introduced safety stickers on its fleet to encourage motorists to give way to pedestrians, and reduce the number of deaths and injuries from people being run over.

The sticker, which will be displayed on 450 of Abu Dhabi Distribution Company’s vehicles, shows an adult and a child on a marked pedestrian crossing, with the phrase “We Ensure Pedestrian Safety”.

Last week, the company launched a public awareness campaign to educate motorists on pedestrian safety.

The initiative is in line with its Zero Harm programme launched in January to achieve a safe and accident-free environment in five years, said Saeed Al Suwaidi, ADDC’s acting managing director.

It is also aimed at “increasing awareness of our drivers of light vehicles and heavy equipment working at our sites and the surrounding areas”.

Iftekhar Ahmed, 59, a Bangladeshi-born Canadian electrical engineer, who initiated his own safety sticker campaign in March last year, said he was convinced other government and semi-government authorities would adopt the scheme.

“I’m excited that my own pedestrian safety awareness project is well on its way to success,” he said.

Thomas Edelman, founder of Road Safety UAE, welcomed the stickers to promote safe behaviour by road users. “Pedestrian safety is communicated in a creative way,” he said. “The moment you step out of your vehicle you also become a pedestrian and you want to be treated by motorists in a caring and respectful manner. When behind the wheel, apply the same to other pedestrians.”

While putting stickers on cars or signs at pedestrian crossings are good educating tools, law enforcement is critical to change driver behaviour, said Michael Dreznes, vice president of the International Road Federation, a non-profit group that aims to promote development and maintenance of safer and more sustainable roads.

“The police need to ticket drivers who violate the law,” he said. “The decals on the cars would be more effective if they included the words ‘It is the law to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks’, or just the symbol with the words ‘It is the law’.”

Forty-eight pedestrians were run over and killed last year in Abu Dhabi, compared with 54 in 2014. In total, 16,894 drivers were fined for not giving way to pedestrians at zebra crossings, which carries a Dh500 fine and a penalty of six black points, while 58,067 pedestrians were fined for jaywalking.