Nissan's Aqdar Drive Safely programme has named 'Best Road Safety Innovation Campaign Award by an Automobile Company' at the Middle East Road & Bridge Forum for its innovative and engaging approach to road safety in the UAE, just three months after its launch.
Developed by Nissan, Aqdar and RoadSafetyUAE, the recipient of the award was determined by delegates attending the forum, hosted by the UAE Ministry of Infrastructure Development, who had to nominate a road safety strategy for its contribution to increasing awareness about road safety.
Aqdar is the Khalifa Empowerment Program for Students in the UAE and was a natural partner for Nissan and RoadSafetyUAE in working to drive a reduction in road traffic accidents involving young people, and in particular the 18 - 35 group, which is over-represented in the accident statistics.
The initiative targeted the use of mobile phones while driving among the 18 - 35 year age group based on its prevalence as a behaviour and contribution to many serious and fatal accidents.
Thomas Edelmann, director of RoadSafetyUAE: "Our core message is actually a very simple one: put it on silent and put it away so there is no temptation to answer your phone while driving. Nothing is so important than it cannot wait a few minutes for you to get to a safe place to stop and return a call.
"It's common sense, but our challenge is to convey the message effectively. We feel this award is a recognition of the fact that we are succeeding in this aim. That makes it particularly gratifying."
The Nissan Middle East's Aqdar Drive Safely campaign was launched through social media in January before a UAE-wide road show got underway touring universities in the country and calling individuals to sign a pledge to never to use a mobile phone for making or receiving calls or texts while driving.
The simplicity of this message, coupled with the engaging strategy, was what impressed those judging the Middle East Road & Bridge Forum Awards.
Dr Ibrahim Mohammad AlDabal, general coordinator of the Khalifa Empowerment Program for Students, noted: "Students tend to be both early adopters of trends and agents of change within society, so if we can involve significant numbers of UAE students, we are confident that others will assimilate these important messages about the dangers of being distracted behind the wheel."
Yolande Pineda, director of corporate communications at Nissan Middle East, added: "Globally and regionally Nissan is determined to make a contribution in the drive to make our roads safer places to be and through small steps such as the Aqdar Drive Safely campaign, we continue to make progress."
The award was presented to Edelmann by HE Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, UAE Minister of Infrastructure Development, accompanied by Eng Ahmed Abdallah Ahmed Alhammadi, director of the roads department in the Ministry of Infrastructure Development, and Dr Abdullah Al-Salem AlKathiri, director general of the Federal Transport Authority, Land and Maritime.
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