Royal recognition

His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent awarded RoadSafetyUAE at the Annual Awards Ceremony, held at The Savoy, London on 11 December.

The Prince Michael of Kent International Road Safety Award (PMIRSA) is arguably the most prestigious road safety award globally and is presented to companies and organizations in recognition of their outstanding contribution to improving road safety.

RoadSafetyUAE’s submission was titled ‘Research-based lobbying for the introduction of the Holistic Seat Belt Law in the United Arab Emirates.’ The award affirms the contribution this initiative has made to improving the UAE’s seat belt laws.

Congratulating the winners His Royal Highness Prince Michael said, ‘This is a fine example of the work of an NGO in encouraging a government to act.’

‘To receive the most prestigious road safety award in the world was beyond our imagination when we founded RoadSafetyUAE five years ago,’ said Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE.

‘It is not only an acknowledgement of our efforts, but of the joint efforts of all the stakeholders we are working with. Without the broad support of UAE’s media, governmental entities and more than 25 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) partners, our achievements would not have been possible.’

RoadSafetyUAE, jointly with one of its CSR-Partners, i-Insured/QIC, commissioned a comprehensive seat belt study in February 2017. The findings were broadly communicated with the dual aims of raising awareness for seat belt use among UAE road users, and influencing regulatory policymakers. Specifically, the initiative sought to expand the existing ‘front-row only seat belt law’ to a ‘holistic seat belt law’ which includes passengers in the back seats. Not long after this research-based communication push at the beginning of 2017 happened, the UAE Holistic Seat Belt Law was implemented on July 1 2017.

‘In our view, the introduction of the holistic seat belt law has been the single most important development affecting UAE’s road traffic safety in many, many years. RoadSafetyUAE aspired to be one of the prominent voices lobbying for the introduction of a holistic seat belt law in the UAE, and we are thrilled that our efforts have been recognized by PMIRSA.

RoadSafetyUAE’s research-based awareness initiatives extend beyond just seat belt use. We also uncovered the reasons for speeding, tailgating, Ramadan accident patterns, distracted driving, the use of mobile phones while driving, among many other potentially hazardous road safety concerns in the UAE.

The results of these studies have been broadly communicated by UAE’s media and have created much-needed awareness surrounding the shortcomings of UAE road safety. As ‘replicability’ is a key factor in PMIRSA’s evaluation, we hope that our approach will be replicated in other countries in the region and beyond. We continue to believe that a research-based approach is the most effective way to raise awareness and spur regulatory improvements, and will ultimately contribute to making our roads safer.’