"Students Safety is Everyone's Responsibility" is the name of the latest campaign launched in Abu Dhabi earlier this week, when students headed back to school. The Traffic and Patrols Directorate at the Abu Dhabi Police, in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) held a press conference Sunday at the directorate.
Brigadier Eng. Hussein Ahmed Al Harithi, director of traffic and patrols directorate at the Abu Dhabi Police, said police have created a comprehensive new plan to improve traffic safety — and thus the safety of students travelling to and from school. They will increase traffic patrols in congested areas around schools in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region, he explained. The plan also includes a multi-pronged public awareness campaign targeting educators, parents, students and motorists.
“The campaign aims to engage all social categories, as well as empower the role of schools, parents, education administration entities, and school bus drivers,” said Al Harithi. "The duty of the family is to protect their children against traffic accidents, while schools should raise traffic awareness among students. Drivers, on the other hand, must be careful and pay attention to the students … on the roads.”
In addition, organizers plan to get students' attention by mixing education with fun hands-on activities.
“The initiative has three main aspects: traffic research, which includes a traffic film produced by students, a traffic photo album and traffic flyers,” said Al Harithi, adding that 150,000 brochures, coloring books, traffic toys, school bags, and other learning tools will be distributed.
He also noted the campaign would educate parents on safe driving practices around schools and organize safety lectures for students, drivers and bus supervisors.
The Abu Dhabi Police ran a similar program last fall as officers accompanied students from a number of schools on school buses to help "spread and instill the traffic culture among students."
H.E. Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, ADEC's executive director of school operations, praised the longtime partnership between Abu Dhabi Police and ADEC. He called on all institutions and schools to adhere to the safety standards of school buses and guarantee safety on the mechanical level as well as onboard every bus.
Al Dhaheri also urged schools to provide guidance to bus drivers and supervisors to follow traffic laws, stop only in designated areas and avoid overloading school buses.
Yusuf Ali Al Raisi, general manager of health, security and safety at Al Futtaim, offered support to the "Students Safety is Everyone's Responsibility" campaign.
“This is a creative campaign to consolidate traffic safety rules in the mind of our students and other different societal categories, in order to avoid traffic accidents and its unnecessary consequences," he said.
The initiative represents the latest step taken by U.A.E. officials to improve the quality of pupil transportation across the country. In April the city of Dubai held its first conference on its school transportation system. The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and National Association for Pupil Transportation, which have worked together for several years, partnered in staging the event. Last fall, delegates from Dubai attended NAPT’s annual conference and trade show in Memphis to learn more about U.S. safety standards as well as specs and equipment for school buses.