Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News archieve

Dubai: Child safety in vehicles is an ongoing issue that continues to raise concern among drivers on the road. Children not wearing seat belts and drivers speeding are the two most common road violations noticed by our Gulf News community journalists.

In 2011, speeding violations accounted for an alarming 85 per cent of all traffic violations, according to Dubai Police’s Traffic Department.

The newspaper’s community reporters have shared their concerns and suggestions on how to ensure child safety in vehicles, and ways to avoid reckless driving. This is a selection of community reports by our readers on the issue.

Case 1

By Niranjan Vaidya, Gulf News Reader

I’ve noticed many incidences in Dubai where children are sitting or even standing in the front seat, in areas such as Al Barsha and Jumeirah.

It’s usually in the inner roads of these areas, and not on the main highway like Shaikh Zayed Road.

Many children don’t have their seat belts on even if they are sitting in the back seat. I think people don’t take their children’s safety on the road very seriously. They use their children as airbags when they seat them on their laps in the passenger seat.

In the case of an accident, the parent will obviously crash into their child. Also, if the child is standing in the front seat, he could possibly fly out of the window.

It’s a very serious issue and people don’t realise just how much danger their children are in.

The reader is a chartered accountant in Dubai

Case 2

By Agniyah Shaikh, Gulf News Reader

I am a teacher at a school, and I normally see road violations in the same neighbourhood.

I’ve seen children without their seat belts on, and babies lying on the seat next to the rear window. You can only imagine what would happen if the driver slams on the brakes.

These road violations happen in private cars and are normally related to the guardians of the children. Parents attract these kinds of incidents when they don’t take this issue seriously. Even when newspapers spread awareness by reporting on the issue, parents still do nothing about it.

I continue to see such incidents happening everywhere. Authorities should follow up on the matter and take strict action.

There should also be vigilance on the part of traffic police who can fine parents on the spot so that they don’t get away with such violations.

 The reader is a teacher in Sharjah

 Case 3

By Mohammad Asif, Gulf News Reader

There are many people driving recklessly and speeding on the road. They casually change lanes with no indication at all. I had an accident a few days ago in Emirates Hills where the speed limit is 25km/h. A taxi that was speeding at around 80km/h saw my car but couldn’t stop because he was way over the speed limit.

It is the same with parents who are driving with a child in the back.

They change lanes while they are speeding, giving no indication, and sometimes they are even on the phone. A lot of speeding cars also have the ‘Baby on Board’ sticker even though they don’t have a baby in the car. In my experience, 50 per cent of the people driving are parents with children in the back seat.

The main problem I’ve seen is parents getting distracted by their children while driving. I suggest that parents buckle up their children and give them something to do so that they don’t get disturbed. My wife usually sits with my baby in the back seat while I drive, which also helps.

The reader is a businessman in Dubai

Case 4

By Farah Qaisar, Gulf News Reader

I still see people not taking care of their children while driving. I see children sitting in the front seat and on parents’ laps all the time.

Another thing I always see is children getting off school buses and having no one to pick them up. They usually cross the street without looking. It’s a serious issue and parents are solely responsible for their children’s safety on the road.

It’s the parents’ duty to make sure their children are safe.

I suggest that parents become more vigilant even as the authorities introduce safety measures to help solve the problem. Parents are with their children 24/7 and if they don’t take the initiative to make sure that their children are safe, there is nothing we can do.

The reader is a homemaker living in Sharjah

Case 5

By Sachin Banodkar, Gulf News Reader

My wife and I were on our way to a shopping mall recently and to our surprise, we saw a child in the front seat, who was standing close to the dashboard.

My wife took this picture while I was driving. By the time I rolled down my window to warn the people in the car, whom I assumed were his parents, the car had moved and I had to stop at the signal.

In spite of adequate communication by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) through all available forums on road safety measures, there are still a few people who seem to ignore the seriousness and consequences of this issue.

We would like to take this opportunity to request and urge parents to take safety norms seriously and avoid accidents.

 The reader works for a retail company in Dubai


Be a community reporter. Tell us what is happening in your community. Send us your videos and pictures at readers@gulfnews.com