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12 April 2024

First ever UAE 'mobile phone in the car' behaviour research

By Staff

Road Safety UAE and QIC Insured release the findings of their most recent YouGov research wave, shedding light on one of the most dangerous behaviours behind the wheel: the use of the mobile phone while driving.

Thomas Edelmann, Founder Managing Director of Road Safety UAE states: “It is alarming to see, that only 26% of motorists ‘never’ use their mobile while driving. Distracted driving is among the top causes of accidents, injuries and death on UAE’s roads and the use of mobile phones behind the wheel is one of the major sources of distraction.”

Most vulnerable are the 25-29 year olds and Sharjah residents. Westerners have the best habits in resting their mobile phone while driving.

74% of drivers use mobile phones for incoming calls, and 43% for outgoing calls, 19% for incoming messages like SMS, WhatsApp and similar, and 14% for outgoing messages.

Interestingly, older drivers respond most to incoming calls, while younger drivers lead in outgoing calls and messages.

Mobile calling and texting is so dangerous, because it combines the 4 forms of distraction:

1. Manual distraction (taking the hands off the wheel)

2. Visual distraction (taking the eyes off the road)

3. Distraction of the mind (taking your attention off the road)

4. Auditory distraction (taking your ears away from traffic sounds)

Frederik Bisbjerg, Executive Vice President MENA Retail, QIC Insured, states: “We are proud to be associated with this behaviour study, as it demonstrates the efforts of QIC Insured to actively support the creation of safer roads. For UAE’s motorists we have a very clear message: When driving, put your mobile phone in silent and put it away. No call or message can be so important to handicap your own safety, the safety of your passengers and the safety of other traffic participants around you!”

60% of respondents use their hands-free in 50% of their drives or more.

35% use the car’s built-in hands-free, 31% cable hands-free and 23% portable Bluetooth devices.

Of those drivers, whose cars have built-in hands-free, 75% actually use it, and the ones who don’t use it, claim better functionality and easier use of their hand held mobile phones.

The use of hands-free is more popular with older drivers.

“To improve the situation, the UAE needs ongoing education efforts, the creation and promotion of safe driving mobile phone applications (including an auto mute function) and a strict enforcement of the current rules and regulations with regards to the ban of mobile phones while driving. We appeal to all UAE traffic participants to obey to the above statement of Frederik Bisbjerg of QIC Insured: ‘When behind the wheel, put your mobile on silent, put it away!’”, Edelmann concludes.

The fieldwork for this study was done in August 2016 by YouGov, with a representative sample of 1,033 residents living in all seven emirates of the UAE. Details of the research project can be found in the ‘featured’ section on: www.roadsafetyuae.com