According to Arabian Business it appears that after Ramadan seat belts may be spun as fashion items to counter the low buckle up rate in the Emirates.
Haute couture logos like Gucci, as well as the logos of sports teams and national flags are intended to make buckling up hip to young motorists.
No specifics have been given by the Salama Road Safety Public Awareness Initiative as to the full range and whether these will be made available free or for a handsome price. This announcement seems a seed sowing affair to test reaction and discover the sort of logos that would make people buckle up. It appears local designers may be invited to suggest ideas for seatbelts that may be distributed in petrol stations and possibly car showrooms.
Buckle Up Rate
The latest figures by the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD) showed that only 11 percent of Emiratis and 44 percent of expatriates wear seatbelts.
The report stated that many young drivers do not wear seatbelts because of peer pressure, according to the Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy (EFP).
Check out this article to read some of the other factors that need to be addressed in a safety belt campaign. Buckling up seat belts can convey a lack of trust in the driver and a lack of faith in God.
At the time of writing 45 comments have been received by Arabian Business and many are critical of this proposal. Here are snippets from two responses:
“Instead of trying to capitalize on people by telling them that it is cool or stylish to wear seatbelts, tell them that it is responsible to wear seatbelts because it contributes in saving lives. And that is the whole point of wearing them.”
“This is the saddest piece of press/PR I have seen on Dubai for a very long time. What message does it give to the outside world that 56% of Dubai expats and 89% of Emiratis will only wear a seatbelt if it has a designer label on it? What a shallow, insignificant country the UAE must seem to the real world. Is this a place for foreigners to invest?”
Read the full story and reader’s comments.
Elsa Baxter, Gucci Seatbelt Plan to Get Young Drivers to Buckle Up, Arabian Business, 26 August 2009.
First the Swine Flu Sermon, Now a Sermon on Responsible Driving in the Emirates, ETE, 18 June 2009.
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Harrison Ford Adds to the America’s Cup Drama, America’s Cup in the UAE, 23 August 2009.
Dr Geoff Pound
Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.
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Image: “Gucci for your UAE Seat Belts?” An example of what the new belts could look like.
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