UAE fleet owners need to be more proactive about road safety

Reflecting on media reports and personal daily observations, it’s easy to see tremendous potential for improved standards in truck safety in the UAE with regard to three key elements: vehicle maintenance, vehicle operation and driver operation. There are manifold examples of violations; one only needs to look at the omnipresent debris of burst truck tyres on UAE roads, improperly loaded vehicles and common misbehaviours among truck drivers, such as speeding, dangerous driving on curves, a lack of respect towards other motorists and so on.

The problem is big, and the landscape is diverse. The big professional fleet operators typically handle well-equipped and properly maintained vehicles, have policies and procedures in place and contribute actively to road safety. Still, there is the need for ongoing policy reviews, driver training and more. On the other hand, with owner operators and subcontractors, the situation is less rosy. A lot needs to be done to improve standards in literally all dimensions of road safety for this segment.

We believe a multi-stakeholder approach is required to rectify current shortcomings. Ultimately, we need to create awareness about the key ingredients of road safety. Stakeholders like government entities and the police, big logistics hot-spots like DP World and other free zones, entities like the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and the vehicle industry – all need to join forces in educating this segment, which is very often the individual owner operator. There are noteworthy programmes already in place, like the ever-improving truck standards of RTA, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce’s ongoing road safety campaign inaugurated in 2014, and commercial vehicle manufacturers like MAN that conduct workshops.

The UAE government elevated road safety to a national key priority subject in their UAE Vision 2021, and acknowledges that it takes the efforts of all stakeholders to reach the ambitious targets. While steps are being taken to address the policy aspect of road safety, the call to action for fleet owners and operators is to reflect on the areas for improvement in their fields and take a pro-active approach in addressing road safety opportunities with the concerned stakeholders in their organisations, by focusing on the other key elements of truck safety: driver safety and vehicle safety.

Thomas Edelmann is the founder of RoadSafetyUAE, an online platform aiming to raise awareness of road safety across the Emirates.


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