Abu Dhabi: The Consumer Protection Department will submit proposals to ensure safety of cruise control systems, a senior official said on Sunday.
The Ministry of Economy’s move includes a new standard for cruise control systems, visits to car factories and education campaigns for drivers, among other steps, said Dr Hashim Al Nuaimi, director of the Consumer Protection Department at the Ministry of Economy.
The move, he said, was prompted by a series of complaints presented to the department over failure of cruise control systems, which automatically control the speed of motor vehicles.
“Many drivers of new and older cars complained their cruise control systems quit on them all of a sudden. Motorists could not operate the cruise control or apply the brakes and the cars continued at top speeds, posing a real risk of causing fatal crashes,” Al Nuaimi said. Al Nuaimi advised motorists to immediately report such problems to their car dealers and to their service centres and have them fixed immediately.
“In many cases the problem was that motorists failed to regularly maintain their vehicles. Because the cruise control system is operated by electrical switches, it is possible the contacts have worn out or become corroded. Taking those apart for inspection and cleaning eliminates that possibility. Motorists should also check the fuses related to the system, and if they have a multi-meter, check that the wiring from the fuse box to the module is intact,” Al Nuaimi said.
He noted that many cruise-control modules are not known for their long-term durability. “Usually a driver will see failure in the module’s electronics, the plastic gears, the motor, or the various mechatronic contrivances that make these contraptions work. Complicating matters, these have to be replaced,” he said.
Periodic maintenance of these vehicles should be done without fail, Al Nuaimi stressed.
Al Nuaimi said that 176 recalls were ordered by the Ministry of Economy over the last 18 months, of which 80 per cent involved car repairs.
He said visits will be made to leading car factories to get to know the latest developments in the highly evolved versions of cruise control systems and what safety features should be met in the new standard for this crucial device.
“Education campaigns are also planned to promote road safety and to encourage the commitment of all drivers to adopt safer behaviour with special focus on cruise control systems,” Al Nuaimi said.
On July 13, an Emirati woman was saved by traffic police patrols in Dubai while she was driving her car on Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road. The 20-year-old woman said she lost control of the car when the cruise control failed while driving at a high speed.
The Emirati woman told the police that she went through a few minutes of horror before she could stop her car at Al Muhaisnah interchange on the way to Al Warqa. It took police patrols four minutes to stop the car and rescue the woman.