Dubai: Road users were left pleasantly surprised after being pulled over by police – for safe driving – on the first day of the ‘Shell GoldStar Contest’, which rewarded 10 road users Dh1,000 each on Monday.
The contest returned for the second time this year (after April) and will run till Wednesday in Dubai and Sharjah. Traffic officials will select the safest road users who will be rewarded. A total of Dh30,000 will be awarded during the three-day campaign, with 10 road users selected for each day of the campaign.
The contest is brought by Shell in conjunction with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Sharjah Police and Ciel Marketing & Events. The campaign is also supported by Oman Insurance, Porsche Centre Dubai, Gulf News, Friday magazine and Wheels magazine.
The Shell GoldStar Contest rewards cash prizes to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists who follow good safety habits. Drivers are selected for following a variety of road safety practices, such as using seatbelts, staying off the phone while driving, lane discipline, using child safety seats, using indicators and observing speed limits.
On Monday, British mum Aisha Sayid thought “it was the end of the line” for her as she was told to walk with Dubai Police officers to a waiting patrol car after being stopped in the parking lot of Arabian Centre, Mirdiff.
“They said come with us, we have a surprise for you. But they had a serious look on their face and they didn’t reveal anything. I was trying to think if I did anything wrong while driving but they didn’t give away the surprise,” said Sayid.
“I thought I was going to be put in a cell for some reason but then people jumped out with smiles on their faces and the cameras came out. It was the complete opposite of what I was thinking would happen.”
She said the GoldStar road safety initiative is “amazing” because it recognises safe road users. Sayid said she always ensures her children are secured in the child seats in the car and everyone is wearing a seat belt.
Also in Mirdiff, anxiety gave way to joy for another motorist who was rewarded in GoldStar. Indian sales and marketing professional Valiyakalayil P Sudhakaran said he was relieved to hear from officials he was stopped for keeping a safe distance from other cars, using indicators, and staying off the mobile phone.
“This is the first time it has happened to me in my 28 years of driving in the UAE,” said the 55-year-old motorist. “I always take care of other road users, including giving way for pedestrians.”
On the first day of the latest edition, seven of the 10 winners were from different nationalities, including Emirati motorist Mansoor Belselah, 46. He was shopping at Aswaq Al Mizhar when he was stopped – for wearing a seatbelt, using indictors and avoiding talking on the mobile. Belselah said he was confident he had done nothing wrong when he was pulled over.
“I really wish people would use indicators, maybe 50 per cent of accidents will not happen then,” Belselah said.
Roshanara Sait, Campaign Founder & Director of Ciel Marketing & Events, said: “Our aim is to create and spread road safety awareness. UAE is home to over 190 nationalities with varying driving styles, today seven of our ten winners came from different countries, including the UAE. The Shell GoldStar Contest acts as a reminder that one must respect road rules at all times. Together we can help make UAE roads safe.”