This is a research paper that I had written back in 2009. I’m very proud of it, especially since I used social media to spread my survey and increase the number of applicants, and still feel that the results are as relevant today as they were back then.
|Young Drivers Driving Behavior and Response to Safe driving Media Campaigns in the United Arab Emirates|
Key Words: Road traffic accidents. Drivers’ Behavior. Careless driving. Reckless Driving, Driving Media Campaigns, Campaigns, Traffic violation fines, Road deaths. Fatality Rates. Speeding. Cross-cultural. UAE. United Arab Emirates.
This paper attempts to discover the extent of awareness U.A.E (United Arab Emirates) resident drivers, (men and women) aged 18 years to 25 years who have a U.A.E driving license, have of their driving behavior and discover the media campaign format that are most suitable to trigger a behavioral change in their driving habits. A qualitative survey was carried out to the target group through e-mails, hyperlinks and a peer to peer website called Facebook. The survey contained 3 main sections: socio-demographic, driving behavior and exposure to media campaigns. The findings show that only 41.03% of respondents know that driving accidents are the second major cause of death in the U.A.E. The findings suggest that speeding is common place, as well as reckless driving. 64% admit to general reckless driving habits such as not using indicators, and 25% of respondents exceeded more than five fines a year showing that speeding traffic violation fines do not have enough impact on behavior change. Only 8.70% of people who are exposed to safe driving campaigns actually change their driving habits while 44.93% selected “Not at all”, which suggests that driving campaigns are not memorable enough. Also, from the results, it seems that most people prefer to be targeted by television (73.68%), but 59.70% saw the adverts on posters which could mean that campaigns are not carried out through the most exposed media vehicle. The results seem to imply that campaigns need to direct more focus on media selection, extending campaign durations and more fear (55.26%) and factually (51.32%) driven campaigns.
The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) is one of the fastest developing countries in the world with a population of 4.4 million with 25% of it consisting of U.A.E nationals (Godwin, 2006, p.1) and an expatriate population of 75% (Abdalla, 2002, P. 484). The U.A.E consists of seven emirates, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaima, Fujeira, and Umm Al Quwain. According to (Bener, Crundal, April 2005, Page 5) and (Godwin, 2006, p.3), due to the U.A.E’s “exaggerated growth since the discovery of oil”, which makes up two thirds of the U.A.E’s Revenue, there has been a huge increase in immigration, resulting in a vastly racially mixed population. The sudden increase in population, vehicle ownership and increased road construction projects, where the level of motorization increased from 13 vehicles to 24 vehicles per 100 people (Abdalla, 2002, p. 484), was not accompanied as rapidly by patterns of behavior (Berner, Crundal, April 2005, p. 5).
Driving behavioral patters have not changed, even though the second major cause of death in the U.A.E is a result of traffic accidents (Abdalla, 2002, page 484) , and (Bener, Ghaffar, Azab, Sanakarn-Kutty, Toth, Lovasz, 2006, p. 259) write that if preventative measures are not taken then road accidents will be the main cause of death in the year 2020.
The two major causes of traffic accidents are careless driving and over speeding (Bener, Ghaffar, Sankaran-Kutty, Toth, Lovasz, 2006, p. 257). In a research conducted by (Bener, Ghaffar, Azab, Sanakarn-Kutty, Toth, Lovasz, 2006, p. 259) the results showed that most accidents occurred during the night time (43.6%); and the most likely reason for road accidents was excessive speeding (69.5%). This research may be limited in the information received from the attending nurses and doctors about the patients’ injury levels, and in the time of death (of which 2% occurred within one month.) However, in the research conducted by (Berner, Crundal, 2005, p. 7) Careless driving was first at 36.5% while Speeding was second at 16%. This may be limited because the date of the data is inconsistent because of the year that the census (2000) and accident figures were gathered (2005). In both cases, these were the top two most common factors in road accidents.
Not forgetting the mindsets of the U.A.E residents, due to the lack of outdoor entertainment, the younger populations engage in riskier activities (Ulleberg,2002,p.2), and use cars as a form of entertainment by holding peer pressured competitions, often during the night time (Bener, Ghaffar, Azab, Sanakarn-Kutty, Toth, Lovasz, 2006, p. 259). On top of that, other factors contribute to the high vehicle accident related fatality rate. For example, in the gulf the seatbelt law which was enforced in the U.A.E in 1999 (El-Sadig, Alam, Carter, Fares, Al-Taneuiji, Romilly, Norman, Lloyd, 2004, p.399), is often ignored and there is a failure in casualty management and no knowledge of first aid. (Abdalla, 2002, p. 485) another Publication, (El-Sadig, Alam, Carter, Fares, Al-Taneuiji, Romilly, Norman, Lloyd, 2004, P.404), agrees that there is “a greater tendency towards non-compliance with seatbelt legislation among the younger age groups”
The Asian population constitutes of 50% of the U.A.E population according to Abdulla, so several drivers used to driving on the right side of the road now need to adapt to driving on the left hand side.
Fatality rates are very high in the U.A.E, with the city of Dubai in the highest number and significantly more so with males than in females (Abdalla, 2002, p. 489).Which, according to (Abdalla, 2002, p. 486), are caused more by ethnic divisions and Cultural differences. The average fatality rate was 13.3 for every 10,000 vehicles (1988-1998) and there has been an increase in fatalities because of increase in population vs. physician or hospital bed suggesting that if the medical system was improved there would be a decrease in death rates. 90% of accidents attributed to road behavior. Most drivers are not educated on the dangers of driving or are educated at different levels, the lack of first aid knowledge and small number of hospital beds increases the change of an overall high fatality rate.
However, in a study conducted by, (Madani, Janahi and Sada, 2002, p.5) results show that the relationship between the drivers experience and seat belt usage are directly proportional, with accident rate being inversely proportional.
“Both mass media and visible enforcement are important for campaigns to have any significant impact”. (Donovan, Jalleh, Henley. 1999, p. 243)
Some researchers believe that drivers should be made aware of the statistics and have the law strictly enforced upon them (Abdulla, 2002, p. 494) behavior change might be most affected by a “perceived likelihood of being caught” and the “perceived severity of the penalties” as in the paper of (Donovan, Jalleh, Henley. 1999, p. 250). It is probably best to assume that there is very limited knowledge of driving safely and risk perception, so that uneducated drivers can be made aware and educated drivers can be reminded. Measures currently taken are the Installation of new radars, strict enforcement of seatbelt usage, and the redesign of the accident Black-spots system as well as stricter vehicle inspection routines. (Abdulla, 2002, p. 495)
Campaigns should be tailored to the large array of mixed cultures and driving behaviors within the resident population as the effectiveness of different message contents would vary by target audience (Donovan, Jalleh, Henley. 1999, p. 244). Currently most media campaigns in the U.A.E, such as “Be Safe” , “Little Step for Safety” Campaigns, are not targeted properly or allowed enough time to campaign, being as short as 6 weeks such as in the “Little step for safety” campaign, hence do not produce the expected results.
To what extent are driving U.A.E residents, above the age of 17, aware of their reckless driving habits and in what way can they be effectively approached to promote behavior change through safe driving media campaigns?
In this section the methodology is approached in a quantitative style, via a cross-sectional survey carried out in the U.A.E Emirates. The questions were quantitative ones because it is necessary to know the frequency of duration of driving hours, Number or fines received, Number of accidents the subject was involved in, the frequency of the exposure of drivers to safe driving campaigns, behavior change or lack of, and in what set ways the population wishes to be approached.
As previously mentioned in the literature review, men have a tendency to drive more recklessly than women. However in the results 57% of the sample populations are female, it also mentions that younger drivers in the UAE may be more reckless and 89.74% of the respondents are in the 18-25 year old segment, and some people may only choose answer that they think are “cool” ex. Choosing “sports car” instead of saloon, so the overall results of the survey may appear less aggressive.
Also, some of the provided selection of answers may not have been broad enough, for example, in questions 13 -15 and in 25-29. In the first set, there is not zero value for people who have never received a fine or only get one fine a year. In the second set, the “other” value may be important ones that have not been taken into consideration when the survey was published, and not all the people in the sample will feel strongly enough to repeat their reasons in the comment section.
The survey was conducted among UAE residents (men and women) aged 18 years to 25 years who have a U.A.E driving license. A convenience method of sampling was used in which the questionnaire was posted as an online survey, through http://www.surveygizmo.com, in order to effectively reach willing participants, in their own time. The link to the survey was posted on a peer to peer site called “Facebook”, on a web blog and through emails.
The majority of the sample consisted of university students or graduates and it is assumed that, through the ability of the target audience to use the internet, the rest of the audience belonged to a minimum standard of an intermediate education level. It is also assumed that only people with driver’s licenses and experience could answer the carefully formulated questions described in the design section which would screen out others.
The survey design (see appendix 1) included items on driving patterns and media campaigns in order to answer the research question on UAE resident driver behavior, their awareness of it and how to approach them effectively.
The data was automatically recorded through the website, and analysis took place after interpreting all the available data. However, the section for nationality was exported as an excel documents and nationalities were tallied by hand, inputted into an excel spreadsheet and then displayed in a pie chat. This is because some people wrote in the name of their country and not their nationality.
The survey was designed with questions that were straight to the point, easy to read and took about four minutes to complete. It was developed into three parts:
Part one considered information on socio-demographic characteristics of drivers like: age, gender, nationality, driving experience, years of residency, vehicle type, car owner, average driving hours per week, and frequency of long-distance drives exceeding 150 kilometers.
The second part considered some questions on driver behavior while driving, such as: smoking, use of mobile phone, eating, drinking, and average speed within a city and on the highway; as well as average number of fines received per year, minor and major accidents, and cars totaled (when a car has been damaged so badly that it could not be repaired, or that repair costs exceeded 10,000 dirhams [dirhams being the local currency of the UAE with 1$ = 3.65 AED]).
In part three, the population was asked about their exposure to safe driving campaigns, the locations (in media type and area), and the testing procedure assessed respondents’ self-reported impact of the ad on their future intentions to comply with the road safety behavior advocated in advertisements, as well as how the population would prefer to be approached and a comments section available for the population to answer.
A total of 80 people responded to the survey, consisting of 43.59% males and 56.41% females. 89.74% were in the 18-25 age groups while the other 10.26% belonged to the 25-31 age groups. 95% of the population sample consisted of expatriates, with a huge variation in nationalities, while 64.11% of the population sample had lived in the U.A.E for more than 10 years. The majority of respondents obtained their licenses from Sharjah 41.03%, Dubai 32.05% and Abu Dhabi 20.51% (Table1); 62.82% drove saloon style cars and 66.67% were driving cars under the name of family members. (See Appendix 2 for results)
In the socio-demographic section: 44% replied that the weekly average number of hours driven exceeds 10 hours, and the monthly average number of time drivers drive a trip exceeding 150kms is 27% for those who drive 4 or more times a month, 5% thrice monthly and 17% twice a month (Table 2). This means that 49% of drivers drive long distances at least monthly. This can be a reason as to why driver may be aggressive while driving, fatigue and boredom can play a huge role.
In the reckless driving habits section (section 2), 64% admit to general reckless driving habits such as not using indicators and speeding (Table 3), 16% of drivers have totaled a car, 78% of drivers talk on phone (Always 16%, often 31%, sometimes 31%), 25% exceed more than 5 fines a year (less than 10: 16%, Less than 15: 4%, Less than 20: 3%, More than 20: 3%).The legal speed limit in the U.A.E highways is 120 Km/H (Kilometers per Hour) in the survey a staggering 37% drive at an average of 140 Km/H on the highway and 37% drive an average of 100Km/H in the city.
An astounding number of people drive recklessly in the U.A.E; perhaps drivers perceive their behavior as following the norm. However, only 58.97% of drivers know that the second major cause of death in the U.A.E is due to driving related accidents (Table 4).
The results belonging to the third section of the survey are as follows: 20%
or respondents haven’t seen a safe driving advert in the U.A.E while 36.84% think they have (Table 5). The top three area locations that safe driving adverts have been seen are at university 47.06, gas station 41.18% and police stations 30.88% and the top three media locations are posters 59.70%, billboards 43.28% and television 41.79%. It is interesting to mention that 37.31% people saw them in newspapers as well.
Only 8.70% of respondents chose “A lot, I drive very differently than I used to.” However, the other selections were 46.38% for “A little, but only short term “and 44.93% for “Not at all”.
Assumedly, these results show that the success rate is very low, because only 8.70% of people who are exposed to safe driving campaigns actually change their driving habits and most of the people have mostly seen safe driving campaigns at university campuses, when it’s a year a two since they’ve started driving.
` From the results it seems that most people prefer to be targeted by television (73.68%), radio (50%) and billboards (47.37%) and they prefer to be targeted on the road (68%), at gas stations (56%) and at university (48%) (Table 6).
They also favored factual (33.33%) and realistic campaigns (32%); and found most safe driving advertising campaigns uninteresting (22.67%), unmemorable (21.33%) and boring (20%). On top of that, 50% of them believe that more police supervision will change their driving behavior. (Table 7)
It seems that people are more than willing to keep campaigns a chance if only
They were in the right places at the right time (any place they would be driving to or from).
Some suggestions that people had to help changes drivers’ behavior were to increase education levels, the law keeping a firm hand, the use of scare tactics and real life occurrences, as well as using the media to publicize reckless drivers.
During the writing of this paper the RTA (Road Transport Association) launched a new safe driving campaign called “Salama”. The campaign is being carried out by the Foundation, Shell, and Emirates Driving Company. Their targeted population group is parents, children and teenagers, at schools, and for drivers in general. The method is to use images from actual accidents that had occurred previously and focus on covering the highest road safety risk factors (high speeds, use of seat belts, etc) as well as implementing a safety ‘check-list’. They aim to reduce the percentage of road crashes and the consequential loss in life and material, by increasing traffic awareness among drivers in the U.A.E.
- Bener and D. Crundal. (2005)Road Traffic Accidents in the United Arab Emirates Compared to Western Countries, Advances in Transportation Studies 5-11
- A Bener, A. Ghaffar, Abu Azab, M. Sankaran-Kutty, F. Toth, and G. Lovasz. (2006) The Impact of Four Wheels Drives on Road Traffic Disabilities and Deaths Compared to Passenger Cars. JCPSP 257-260
- Ibrahim M. Abdalla. (2002) Fatality Risk Assessment and Modeling of Drivers Responsibility for causing Traffic Accidents in Dubai. Journal of Safety Research; 483-496
- Abdul Bari Bener, Di Haigney, David Crundall, Abdel Karim Bensiali, and Ahmed Saif al Falasi. (2004) Driving Behavior, Stress, Error and Violations on the Road: A Cross-Cultural Comparison Study. Nottingham psychology 1-17
- Robert J. Donovan, Geoffrey Jalleh, Nadine Henley. (1999) Executing effective road safety advertising: are big production budgets necessary? Accident Analysis and Prevention 243-252
- Stewart M. Godwin (2006) Globalization, Education and Emiratirisation: A Study of the United Arab Emirates. EJISDC 1-14
- Hashim M.N. Al-Madani, AbdulRahman Al-Janahi and Ebrahim Al-Sada (2002) Drivers Characteristics with Respect to Accident Involvement and Seat Belt Utilization. King Saudi University 1-12
- Mohammed El-Sadig , Mohammed Sarfraz Alam, Anne O. Carter , Khalid Fares , Hashel Obaid Salem Al-Taneuiji , Peter Romilly , J. Nelson Norman, Owen Lloyd (2004) Evaluation of effectiveness of safety seatbelt legislation in the United Arab Emirates. Accident Analysis and prevention, 399-404
- Pal Ulleberg (2002) Personality Subtypes of Young Drivers. Relationship to risk-taking preferences, Accident Involvement, and response to a Traffic Safety Campaign. Transportation Research Part F 279-297
- Arab Eastern (2009). Salama, the national road safety public awareness initiative, launched Wednesday its first mass media campaign. Retrieved April 24, 2009, from Arab Eastern.com Web site: http://www.fananews.com/look/english/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=2&NrArticle=517660&NrIssue=9&NrSection=1
- AME INFO (2009). National Salama Traffic Awareness Initiative launched in Abu Dhabi. Retrieved May 3, 2009 from the AME INFO Website: http://www.ameinfo.com/176630.html
- Dubai City Online Guide (2007). Belhasa Driving Center launches RTA endorsed ‘BE SAFE’ road safety campaign targeting primary school children. Retrieved February 20, 2009, from Dubai City Online Guide web site: http://www.dubaicity.com/news/Belhasa-Driving-Center-launches-RTA19-1.htm
- AME Info (2007). Belhasa Driving Center launches RTA endorsed ‘BE SAFE’ road safety campaign targeting primary school children. Retrieved February 20, 2009 from AME Website: http://www.ameinfo.com/108098.html
- Gulf News (2008). 250,000 pupils in UAE road safety drive. Retrieved February 20, 2009 from the Gulf News Website: http://www.gulfnews.com/Nation/Traffic_and_Transport/10206249.html
- Fourtitude (2007).Dubai Autodrome, RTA, Dubai Police, HSBC and Audi Launch Road Safety Campaign. Retrieved February 20.2009 from the Fourtitude website: http://www.fourtitude.com/news/publish/Industry_Tuner_News/printer_3315.shtml
1 – Survey design:
|Less than 1||1||1.28%|
|Less than 5||20||25.64%|
|Less than 10||7||8.97%|
|Less than 15||13||16.67%|
|More than 20||37||47.44%|
|Ras Al Khaimah||2||2.56%|
|Umm al Quwain||2||2.56%|
- Where did you get your U.A.E License from?
- Did you know that driving is the 2nd major cause of death in the U.A.E?
- What kind of car do you drive?
|Four Wheel Drive (Ex. Toyota landcruiser)||22||28.21%|
(Ex. Honda Civic)
|Under My Name||23||29.49%|
- Do you ever do any of the following?
Ex.: Racing, Over speeding, Tailgating, Overtaking on the left, Not using Indicator signals, Drive too closely to other cars, Attempt Drifts or others?
|Less than 5||9||75.64%|
|Less than 10||2||15.38%|
|Less than 15||3||3.85%|
|Less than 20||2||2.56%|
|More than 20||2||2.56%|
- What is the average number of fines you receive each year?
- What is the average number of Minor accidents you have a year?
(example, small bumps, scratches, and other small accidents)
|Less than 5||7||94.87%|
|Less than 10||3||3.85%|
|Less than 15||1||1.28%|
- How many major accidents do you have on average per year?(Driving into another vehicle, destroying public property…etc)
- Have you ever totaled a car?
(Damaged it so badly that it couldn’t be fixed or that costs exceed 10,000 Dhs)
|less than 4||14||18.42%|
|less than 6||9||11.84%|
|less than 8||7||9.21%|
|less than 10||12||15.79%|
|More than 10||34||44.74%|
- What is the average number of times driven per month in a trip exceeding 150 Km? (Ex: From Dubai to Abu Dhabi = 164 Kms)
|Less than once a month||33||43.42%|
|4 or more||21||27.63%|
- What is your average speed on a highway?
Ex. Emirates Road
(ave. speed of 100 means it changes from 80 to 120)
|I Think So||28||36.84%|
- Have you ever noticed any safe driving campaigns/advertisements in the UAE?
- If yes, where have you seen them? (Location)
(Ex. Adnoc or Eppco)
|Mobile text Messages||4||5.97%|
|A lot, i drive very differently than i used to.||6||8.70%|
|A little, but only short term||32||46.38%|
|Not at all||31||44.93%|
|Showed death or pain||18||24.00%|
|Easy to remember||8||10.67%|
|On the Road||51||68.00%|
|On food packaging
(On Bottles or crisp packets..etc)
- What kind of technique, in a campaign or advertisement, do you think is most effective for you to change any bad driving behavior you may have?
|Using Facts or statistics||39||51.32%|
|Use of fear||42||55.26%|
(from loss of her child)
|Simple steps to ensure safety||22||28.95%|
|Showing the Costs of Fines||20||26.32%|
|Longer Jail Sentences||24||31.58%|
|Lowering speed limit||14||18.42%|
|More police supervision||38||50.00%|
|More black points||21||27.63%|
|Increasing minimum age from 18 to 21||21||27.63%|
|Re-education of experienced drivers||25||32.89%|
|26903122||Show Real ‘actual’ Situations… not created one for the ad.!!|
|26924216||Make the teaching of driving more intense while in the school .. and dont give idiots who cant drive the ability to put others at risk … Driving is a right and not a privalege –|
most people care more about fines and radars. therefore it is much better to advertise more about radars and how is it is to get caught by a radar.
all the fines created in the uae is obviously made to make profit not for security. Therefore the damn government must use usa and europe technique..Money and fines will not solve anything.. BESIDES the highest death rates are in the uae and the highest profitable rines are also in the uae i dont think it needs a rocket scientiest to discover the rip offs..
|27299533||more media campaigns|
|27407405||Real life stories of people who are paralized, lost a limb etc. or a person who has lost somebody, and the see of communication with deep emotions, and real accident footages uncencored(with all the blood and gore) that ought to teach a lesson|
|27462753||Nothing will stop people from Rash Driving.|
|27463911||I picked other for 30, the only way to reduce bad driving habits is to provide area’s for crazy people to go crazy.. Like a huge space organized where cars can drift burn out do donuts etc.. Dubai Autodrome is too pricey for some people, people need a place to unleash their craziness.. I know I do|
|27463769||stop giving license to indians and increase number of courses for truck drivers!!|
|27464977||showing more of car license plates pictures on newspapers, possibly accompanying name of company (for example) of who the car belongs to. maybe a small book given to drivers at petrol stations. increase in radio in english and most importantly arabic. talk more about the effects of accidents on both the person who caused the accident and for the other person, whether it is minor or major.|
|27472304||Billboards tend to distract drivers when driving but are useful during rush hour increasing the punishment will only make drivers become more defiant, if they are educated and awareness is spread out more thoroughly then they will realize the consequences of their actions. FYI most people who speed are between the ages of 18-25 since most of them don’t have jobs and/or are still studying so they rely solely on their parents paying off their fines. If they had to acquire responsibility and pay them off themselves they would definitely be more careful and responsible drivers|
|27520189||dont be easy on the ones who do not follow safe practices while driving.|
|27521265||Show actual car accidents|
|27533895||Nothing really except that may be if they make some reality shows about safe driving and use some cool actors and actresses for thoses shows.|
|27536536||show more advertisements|
|27742825||Fines and campaigns attempting to improve attitudes work, but scare tactics are needed to.|