UAE – Every day, emergency services across the country, including police, civil defence and ambulance, attend to hundreds of road accidents. In fact, a recent report shows that Dubai Police received more than 2,419 emergency calls and reported 250 traffic accidents within just five hours of the first day of Ramadan. Meanwhile, according to the Abu Dhabi Police, there have been 42% more road fatalities in the first three months of this year than the same period in 2015, most of which were caused by people aged between 18-33 years.
In an effort to tackle such statistics head-on, BMW Group Middle East, together with its local importers Abu Dhabi Motors and AGMC, and Ciel Events, have recently completed the second instalment of its unique educational programme My First License™ – I Know My Road Rules™. With the strong support of the RTA, KHDA and Police, the campaign aims to instil good habits from an early age and ensure children understand the fundamentals of road safety before they become motorists themselves. In the last year, the campaign has taught the essentials to 8,000 children aged 6-9 years across 20 schools in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.
BMW Group Middle East and its importers Abu Dhabi Motors and AGMC – all of whom are strong road safety advocates and have led the charge on promoting and educating audiences on key issues such as buckling up since 2010 – believe that education should begin at a very young age.
Road safety is important as it touches and affects every person,” commented Arno Husselmann General Manager of Abu Dhabi Motors. “Most people know someone who has been affected by the tragedy of a road accident. It is therefore our responsibility as a committed member of the UAE community to spread awareness to help reduce the number of injuries and fatalities on our roads, which, according to the World Health Organisation, is the UAE’s second biggest killer. The more children that are taught essential road rules, the better, and we will continue to promote this message into the future. ”
Osman Abdelmoneim, General Manager of AGMC, added: “A split-second is all it takes. Just a lapse in concentration for a second can result in a terrifying collision. Regardless of whose fault it is, we all have the responsibility to protect ourselves and our families. One way of doing this is to ensure our children and next generation of drivers understand and respect the rules of the road; getting all the important safety messages engrained into their behaviour from an early age will not only to help keep them safe but will be key to ensuring safer roads for the future. We collaborated with Ciel Events for My First License™ – I Know My Road Rules™ because it does just that; it provides children with the right guidance to set them on a path to a safer future.”
To create an exciting environment for the children, a mini road travel scenario was replicated within each school, including a network of road signs, zebra crossings, a roundabout and traffic signals. An instructor ran through basic road safety rules and taught the youngsters the difference between key road signs. Using miniature cars, the students then learnt to navigate the road network by the RTA and police, who highlighted how the road safety rules that were discussed in class previously can be applied in practice.
After successfully completing the challenge, and to make the experience even more engaging, each student was awarded an envelope containing a personalized plastic license card with their name and photo which was endorsed by the Abu Dhabi police, RTA and KHDA, alongside an interactive story book on road rules and a “We Know Our Road Rules” magnet.
“The effort that goes into organizing the My First License™ – I Know My Road Rules™ brings in multiple results both on a personal level as founder as well as an organizer of the programme,” said Roshanara Sait, campaign Founder and Director of Ciel Events. “Children of today need to be aware of the simple rules of road safety and this programme helps inculcate good road safety habits to make them more conscious and responsible adults. The programme, which is a concerted effort by BMW Group, has been able to successfully reach out to thousands of children and it gives us utmost satisfaction to see them keenly absorb the message of road safety through the interactive and exciting learning tools being used. We hope to continue our efforts in spreading the message of road safety among children.”
The participating schools this year included Wellington International School, Victoria International School, Al Ittihad Private School, The Apple International School, GEMS Royal Dubai School, Al Ameen School, Al Bateen School, GEMS Cambridge International School and GEMS Winchester School.
Kevin Loft, Principal of GEMS Royal Dubai School, commented: “My First License™ – I Know My Road Rules™ has become an annual event for the school as we value the powerful message that it is instilling in our children and encouraging them to share this with their families. Our school has received many emails from parents thanking all involved for bringing such an important message in such a positive way to our school community.”
“We were extremely impressed with the organization of My First License™ – I Know My Road Rules™ and how Ciel Events and BMW Group Middle East conducted the day,” added Rebecca Plaskitt, Principal of GEMS Cambridge International School, Abu Dhabi. “Our students thoroughly enjoyed the activities and the information that was shared with them during the sessions will be very beneficial to them and their families in the near future. We are grateful to BMW Group Middle East and the Abu Dhabi Police for making this campaign possible.”
Since the launch of the My First License™ - I Know My Road Rules™ programme by Ciel Events in schools across Dubai in 2011, more than 23,000 students from 46 schools have participated in the interactive learning programme. BMW Group Middle East came on board in 2015 as part of its own road safety campaign, ‘Stay Alert. Stay Alive.’ Launched in 2010, it focused on enlightening the public about the importance of buckling up and using appropriate child car seat restraints. Over the past six years, the campaign has been activated throughout the Middle East, including the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Jordan. The initiative has comprised research with customers, public and students to understand their attitudes towards road safety, awareness events in public parks, nurseries and showrooms, distribution and demonstration of booster cushions as well as the development of an interactive e-learning course for university students.