UAE parents lagging behind in attitudes towards seatbelt use

Half do not agree that children of all ages need to be buckled up, survey finds

Shot of a father putting his son in a car seat, he is leaning over fastening the belt. (Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***  na01de-letters-seatbelt.jpg
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More than half of parents in the UAE do not know children of all ages need to wear seat belts, a survey suggests.

The poll by Infiniti Middle East found 55 per cent appeared to be unaware of laws regarding children using seat belts - more than two years after they became mandatory.

More than 800 Emiratis and expats were polled for a nationwide road safety campaign.

The majority of respondents were aged between 30-39 and were female.

This new survey shows that there is still a lot of confusion amongst parents  when it comes to safety rules

One in four parents said seat belts need only be worn after the child turns three-years old - and one in five said only children aged six and older need to buckle up.

Since July 2017, every occupant of a vehicle has had to wear a seat belt at all times regardless of age and a child under four must be travel in a child seat.

If the the driver fails to ensure this, they are fined Dh400 and receive four black points on their licence.

“Correct seat-belt use is an ongoing topic of conversation in the UAE, and this new survey shows that there is still a lot of confusion amongst parents when it comes to safety rules," said Markus Leithe, managing director of Infiniti Middle East, a division of the Japanese car builder, said:

“The new survey aims to draw attention to these crucial safety considerations, reminding parents of their responsibility and how on-road behaviour affects – and is eventually mimicked by - children.”

Parents were asked about the negative on-road behaviour children were most likely to copy from their parents, and nearly half of the parents answered the behaviour would be not wearing a seat belt.

Deema Hussein, from Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority, said it is clear more awareness is needed to change public behaviour.

“The correct use of seat belts remains a key priority for RTA, as we work to improve the safety of parents and children on the UAE’s roads," she said.

“Over the years, RTA has undertaken a number of projects, plans and initiatives to improve awareness around the correct use of seat belts.

"By collaborating with the private sector on awareness campaigns we continue to raise public awareness on the importance of wearing rear seat belts in order to change the public's behaviour."

In the months after the seat-belt law was brought in, thousands of drivers were fined nationwide, including 7,600 in Abu Dhabi in the space of just two months.

Earlier this year, a University of Sharjah study found just one in eight passengers buckle up in the back seat, further suggesting the public has been slow to change habits.

A total of 1,903 vehicles with 3,569 rear seat passengers were observed for the study, with only 12.3 per cent of found to be wearing the seat belts.

seat belt use was lowest in Sharjah, at 8.8 per cent, rising to 14.7 per cent in Dubai and 16.2 per cent in Fujairah.