Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi residents who apply for a driving license will now be required to undergo a first aid training programme, Gulf News has learnt.

The initiative, a joint effort between the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) and the Abu Dhabi Police, was announced at the first road safety campaign organised by the HAAD, to help minimise road deaths in Abu Dhabi - which has been reported to have one of the world's highest rates - an incidence of 27.4 deaths per 100,000.

Road deaths are mostly connected to speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, changing weather conditions (humidity or fog), or lack of first aid knowledge among drivers whose motive is to help an injured driver after an collision - a risky initiative that may worsen the injured persons medical condition.

"The peek age for road deaths is from 25 to 34 years, four times more among Emiratis and 2.5 times more among men than women. Given that the UAE has one of the best highways and cars in the world, those statistics are way too high and can be prevented," Dr Oliver Harrison, Head of Public Health for the HAAD told Gulf News during the Drive Safe, Save Lives press conference held yesterday.

HAAD death statistics show that the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has one of the worlds highest rates with as many as 430 people dying from road traffic injuries in 2008 alone; which reflects 69 per cent of all deaths from injuries and makes road traffic injuries the leading cause of death.

"These numbers are unacceptably high and driving within speed limits, using seat belts and child restraints while driving are the most important aspects of safe driving," said Dr Jens Thomsen, section head occupational and environmental health for the HAAD road safety campaign.

Seat belts have been demonstrated by scientific injury research studies to be highly effective in reducing the risk of serious and fatal injuries by 40 to 65 per cent, said Thomsen, adding that the combination of seat belts and air bags has reduced driver and front passenger deaths by an estimated 68 per cent.

Shaikh Khalid Al Qasimi, BP-Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team's driver, who is also the campaign's brand ambassador, emphasised the dangers related to fast driving.

"Speed can cost you your life, we should jointly be responsible to protect our youth and future of Abu Dhabi; not only for our own lives but also for other lives we risk if we speed or drive recklessly," he said.

Do you think this is a good idea? Do you know how to practice first aid? Will this encourage people to be safer on the roads?

Your comments

Very good idea. These classes should be available to those as well who are already having driving license.
Posted: June 02, 2009, 15:32

This is a good idea. It will help drivers to educate themselves regarding first aid but still the main concern here is the driving itself. Its been noticed that behaviour in the streets is getting worse everyday you can see driver changing lanes without using indicator, they will go left even they are on the inner right corner of the streets, speeding, zigzagging, using mobile while driving and many more. Please give attention to this driver they need a lot of training. Have a psychological exam also. Thank You..
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: June 02, 2009, 13:52

Yes this is indeed a good idea. however this is more of a value addition. whereas currently the basics are not completely covered. By basics i mean Police presence, simply putting up radars and expecting higher compliance to traffic rules is very unrealistic. A radar only regulates ONE traffic rule i.e. speed limit. whereas rash and erratic drivers violate traffic in several other ways, e.g. Imporoper lane changing can be equally dangerous or fatal to the driver as well as other people on the road, as speeding. Similarly lots of other traffic rules which need a stronger reinforcement - and the only way that is done in the world is to increase patrolling and Police presence.
Adnan Ansari
Posted: June 02, 2009, 13:26

This is a very great idea to save with immediate fist AID, but it should be trained highly.
Fowz Allah
Posted: June 02, 2009, 13:26

the suggestion is always welcome. but i dont think this can cause less accidents. the drivers have to be more cautious regarding the speed, the traffic on both the sides of the car and the back, and most importantly, using of the indicators. i am currently an applicant for driving license in dubai. i have lost my two tests ,becoz i did not consider the above -mentioned points much. i think, if you just consider these, accidents can be minimised.
Nejma Navas
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: June 02, 2009, 12:50

I am First Aid Trainer and I think it's a great idea. We have this system since long time in Germany and it is very good that with the right training many people would be in the position to help. However many people here still fear that they get problems with the police or that they even will be made responsible for someone?s death, if they are going to help. I also know First Aiders that have been sent away by the police in many countries when they wanted to help. A clear announcement by the government clearing these doubts would help and additionally support this great move.
Posted: June 02, 2009, 12:47

This initiative is good for safety of all but will they charge extra for it?
Abdul Basit
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: June 02, 2009, 11:31

An excellent step if it is taken. First Aid training should be compulsory on initial stage but should not subject to condition for passing of driving test. Most of the people do not know first aid. This training will be very helpful for drivers. It may be first time in the world. Really it is an excellent idea.
Tarek Jaafar
Posted: June 02, 2009, 11:01