Month: January 2013
I took a look at the newspaper recently and was horrified to see the photo of a totally burned car, resulting in the death of an Emirati – yet another victim of speeding on our roads. A search of news reports over the past two months showed me at least 12 other similar deaths due to speeding. What’s happening to our drivers?
There is clearly a crisis.
A closer look revealed the alarming fact that most of these vehicles are driven by educated men and women.
Does this show that there is a lack of willingness to acknowledge and respect safety initiatives in place?
If so, it has to be controlled by initiating stricter rules and regulations so that no life is lost due to dangerous driving.
I suggest the authorities bring in a fine system which is pro rata, based on the type and model of the vehicle and driver involved. In addition, all automobile dealers should be requested to give a 2-3 hour mandatory safety training to the new owner, with a certification issued after successful completion that he is well aware of the controls of the car he is going to own and fit and safe enough to drive it.
I wish to see zero tolerance on speeding on our roads and no fatalities in the future, as a result.
From Mr Ramesh Menon Abu Dhabi
To read it in original, please visit GULF NEWS online
The thoughts behind my letter were based on these news items published in the GULF NEWS:
Abu Dhabi Police launch pedestrian safety drive150 killed and almost 1000 run over last year By Nada Al Taher and Aghaddir Ali, Staff Reporters Published: 18:43 January 7, 2013
Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Police launched the first road safety campaign for pedestrians in 2013 after reports that more than 150 people were killed and almost 1000 run over in accidents during the first 10 months of last year across the Emirates.
The number of deaths of pedestrians is almost double the 83 that were recorded in 2011.
According to Brigadier General Ghaith Hassan Al Zaabi, Director General of Traffic Coordination Department at the Ministry of Interior, people being run over constitutes 18.65 per cent of the total number of deaths and 15.35 per cent of traffic accidents in the UAE. Moreover, almost 30 per cent of injuries during the first 10 months of 2012 were caused by people being hit by vehicles, the official said in a statement.
So far, it is not clear whether or not pedestrian accidents have decreased from 2011 to 2012, but Dubai Police statements claim that being run over is the leading cause of road deaths in the Emirate. In 2012, Gulf News reported a 20.7 per cent reduction such incidents between January 1 and September 30, with 46 deaths reported compared to 58 over the same period in 2011.
The figures led many motorists to call for stricter penalties for jay-walkers.
“Frequently, pedestrians would jump from the side of the road on to a busy street and I would have to do my best to control my car and attempt to dodge them,” said Syrian driver and automobile valuation analyst Ahmad Zendaki. “The law in the UAE is strict on jay-walkers but is also harsh on the motorists who hit them until the pedestrian is proven guilty. Charging them heftier fines and building overpasses in areas where jay-walking is recurrent may help ease problems because they are endangering their own lives as well as others.”
Drivers travelling at 60km/h may not be able to stop in time if pedestrians appear a short distance (of a few metres) ahead, the director of the Dubai Police Traffic department told Gulf News.
Colonel Hamad Al Ameri, director of the Abu Dhabi Police Traffic and Patrol Directorate, said the reduction in people being run over in the capital was a result of the efforts of police officials in Abu Dhabi city, Al Ain and Al Gharbia (Western Region). Efforts in Dubai are also aiming to curb such accidents as the Dubai Police traffic department expressed its will to tighten penalties against offenders last year.
According to the Federal Traffic Law’s article 7, those who cross the street from undesignated areas will be fined Dh200. Similarly, motorists who do not give priority to pedestrians on zebra crossings will also be fined Dh500 and six black points, according to Al Zaabi.
The official said that crossing the road from non-designated areas and drivers’ not giving pedestrians road priority are dangerous traffic offences, therefore it is vital, he said, that road users become more aware on topics relating to pedestrian-safety.
Al Zaabi also explained that there are basic rules that both motorists and pedestrians should abide by and that cooperation between both groups is essential in ensuring a safe road environment. The Ministry of Interior launched the awareness campaign titled Pedestrian Safety is Our Responsibility as an initiative to improve overall road safety. The campaign will continue until March.
My comments as follows:
Congratulations to Abu Dhabi authorities for initiating this campaign at the beginning of a new year. Indeed, “Pedestrian Safety is Our Responsibility” and each road user has to constantly remind themselfves of this. There are several heavy usage sectors like Abu Dhabi Mall, Hamdan Street and Airport Road where one will get to see violators at any given point of day or night. How many hours the authorities can man these roads by policing in uniform or not is a question once again to the general public. The rate of accidents have reduced due to strict laws. However, general awareness campaigns showing the consequences to undergo as an accident victim, either as a pedestrian or as a driver involved should be highlighted repeatedly. The recovery time, the legal proecss, etc are too long and harsh when compared to a few minutes of delay taken to follow the path at designated areas. Let us all support the authorities by following the road safety rules strictly. Community Organisations and companies should educate and remind members and staff on a regular basis the importance of road safety in tandem with Police support.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
To read it in original, please visit GULF NEWS online.
Global retail chains cash in on grocery closures
Spinneys, Adnoc Oasis, Waitrose and other chains to open convenience outlets in Abu Dhabi By Binsal Abdul Kader, Staff Reporter Published: 21:38 January 6, 2013 Abu Dhabi: Major retail chains, including global players, will open convenience outlets in Abu Dhabi in place of the closed grocery stores. The coming days will see the opening of a wide range of retail shops run by companies such as Spinneys, Snacks, Adnoc Oasis, Select Express, Waitrose and Spar among others in Abu Dhabi, a senior official announced on Sunday. “These new outlets will make up for the ones that are now closed,” Ahmad Abdul Karim Al Sharaf, acting director of communication and community service at the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), said in a statement. But the authority did not disclose the number of stores that shut down and those under renovation after failing to meet the December 31 (Monday) deadline. However, salesmen who distribute supplies to these stores told Gulf News that out of the 1,300 grocery stores and small supermarkets in Abu Dhabi, they found a few were still open for business since January 1 (Tuesday). About 50 per cent of them were very small stores that shut down owing to space and financial constraints in implementing the new standards while the remaining are under renovation, they said. Some of the retail chains trying to cash in on the vacuum created by the closure of grocery stores said they would provide home delivery in residential neighbourhoods. Adnoc Oasis has opened ‘Grocery Stores’ that offer home delivery service on Al Salam Street, Al Falah Street and off Electra Street, a staff said. “Many more stores will be opened in the city soon,” the employee, who did not wish to be named, said.
Home delivery service Select Express has already opened a store on Airport Road and more small stores will be opened across the city soon with home delivery service, an executive said on Sunday. Spinneys has a made a submission to the ADFCA on a concept of small stores to be opened in Abu Dhabi, said CEO Johannes Holtzhauen. He said the company plans to open a number of small stores in Abu Dhabi. “We are waiting for the authority’s approval,” he said. Spar, a global retail chain, along with the Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society will open a number of convenience stores in the city soon, an executive said. Circle K, a convenience store chain with more than 10,000 stores across the world, said it plans to open 15 to 20 outlets in Abu Dhabi. “We will provide home delivery,” said Fahmi Al Shawa, managing director, Circle K UAE. The ADFCA said the groceries that had closed down did so on their own as they did not utilise 2011 for renovation work in their premises.
Fear of penal action Although the authority said it would only gradually close non-compliant groceries, owners of small stores said most such outlets had already shut down fearing penal action. The ADFCA said it had increased the number of approved contractors to over 80 in order to ensure that shopkeepers have enough to choose from. Contrary to speculation, the ADFCA has not fixed the price for renovation in grocery premises at Dh200,000. This choice is left to the shop owners, the authority clarified. It said the new regulations governing retail stores will guarantee food safety and address wide discrepancies in quality. “No new licence will be issued except as per the new regulations,” the ADFCA said.
My comments as follows:I consider the closure of small grocery stores in Abu Dhabi has two side effects to the economy and residents. On one hand, the age old and traditional easy access point to your daily home needs, from your phone is now extinct. One cannot lazily call the grocer on a Friday or any other morning and order him to bring to your doorstep a bottle of milk, eggs, a banana or the daily news. For the school going children, gone are the days where they get down from the school bus and run towards the grocer to buy an ice cream or chips packet or chocolate before they take the lift to their home. A move designed to bring in hygiene and quality to products will therefore show an effect on irregular eating desires, which will have to be discontinued as it is not easy to go in and pick these daily desires, buy and eat items, walking all the way to a mega grocer. Thus, I look forward to a bunch of healthier kids from now on, who will reduce automatically the consumption of fancy chips and chocolates. On the other hand, I foresee a huge decrease in consumer sales of daily saleable, over the counter FMCG products, which are sold purely on the basis of its easy availability from the grocer down than its necessity. Thus, small scale business will suffer. Time will tell whether the big giants could match up with the daily needs of the consumer to the level before or better. With the strict requirements to set up an establishment under the present regulations, the costs are bound hit a new time high, silently and indirectly thus consumer will suffer as a result.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
To read it in original, please visit GULF NEWS online
There was no dearth for accidents this time too on the highway leading towards Bangalore. Traffic safety is a matter of concern. However, we drive safe, there is a danger of someone out there, who is driving dangerously and causing danger to all others out there. On the road photo – taken during during recent drive by Rajashree Menon. True, very true, we do not take a driver, because, he may continue using his mobile, however, we tell him not to use.
Therefore, I prefer to drive on my own. However, from the time we start from our home and reach our home in Kerala and then back at Bengaluru, it is sheer, good luck and god’s grace. The driving habit and culture is too bad. God bless, those on our roads, each day and moment.