Research by Continental, the premium tire and automotive manufacturer, has revealed the degree to which UAE parents are overlooking basic safety checks of their vehicles, putting themselves and their children at risk. Contrary to the advice of safety experts, most parents are failing to check their tires regularly enough, with a quarter not even being able to recall the last time they did a proper check.
As part of its Vison Zero safety initiative, Continental conducted two studies: one in collaboration with YouGov and another in partnership with the GEMS Modern Academy Dubai. The YouGov study of parents in the UAE showed the frequency with which parents check their tires while a survey at the school inspected the tire health of parents’ vehicles parked there.
Road safety experts recommend checking tires at least once per month for air pressure, tread depth and signs of irregular wear to help prevent catastrophic tire failure while on the road . However, of parents who said that they regularly drive their children to school, more than half (52 per cent) had not checked their tires in the last month, according to the Continental-commissioned YouGov survey. Highlighting further concerns about child safety, one in four parents surveyed could not bring to mind the last time a thorough check on their vehicles tires.
With tire-related accidents in the UAE is believed to be contributing to around five percent of traffic deaths, Continental’s survey raises questions about parents’ awareness of basic vehicle safety precautions and the safety of the traditional daily "school run".
Subsequent to these findings, Continental, and their local partner Emirates for Universal Tires (EUT), carried out standard tire tests on over 200 vehicles parked at the GEMS Modern Academy in Dubai, to help ensure that parents were ferrying their children safely and also to raise awareness around the issue. The expert technicians conducting the tests recommended that 24 of the vehicles, more than one in ten of the sample, should have at least one of their tires replaced.
Commenting on the YouGov survey, Ricardo Martins, Head of Marketing, Continental Middle East said: "Checking the safety of your vehicle on a regular basis is the responsibility of each and every driver and is just one simple way of minimizing the risk of road accidents. Finding out that this is not something that is regularly done by most parents in the UAE reinforced our motivation to look at the issue in greater detail and take action.
"We are pleased to have brought to the attention of dozens of parents the need to regularly check the health of your vehicle’s tires. We take our global initiative of Vision Zero – our aspiration for a world with zero fatalities, injuries or accidents on the roads – very seriously and believe in making a difference with activities such as this," Martins added.
Continental and EUT staff checked 204 vehicles of parents at the Gems Modern Academy in Dubai, testing for air pressure, tread depth, wear and punctures. While seven in ten vehicles had the correct tire pressure, more than a quarter of checks discovered under-inflated tires – a key factor contributing to irregular tread wear (discovered in 31 vehicles) and side-wall damage (found on 14 of the parked cars).
Speaking about the tire safety initiative, Nargish Khambatta, Principal of GEMS Modern Academy in Dubai, said: "Our children’s safety is always our priority and such programs are significant as they educate parents on the importance of road safety".
Road safety continues to be a major issue in the UAE, with recent figures from the Ministry of Interior and National Transport Authority showing that 525 people lost their lives on the country’s roads in 2017 .
Speaking about the findings, Thomas Edelmann, Managing Director, RoadSafetyUAE, commented: "Tire safety is a high concern in the UAE, especially considering the harsh climate. We experience tire debris on our roads pretty much every day and this should serve as a warning. Tire safety is even more relevant in the context of transporting our kids – we just want to make sure we transport our children in the safest possible manner. Caring parents should regularly check the condition of their vehicle and in particular the tire condition by pre-drive checks. We welcome this initiative of our CSR-partner Continental."
Continental’s YouGov survey asked 500 UAE parents about the last time they or a professional thoroughly checked the tires on their car. Of these, 47 per cent claimed to have done so within the last month with a further 23 per cent and five per cent within the last six months and 12 months respectively. Exactly 25 per cent could not recall the last time they had their tires checked.
As a frontrunner in automotive technological advancements and road safety, Continental is a dedicated advocate of greater safety on the roads – the company’s global Vision Zero initiative aims to totally eradicate road accidents and achieve Zero fatalities, Zero injuries and Zero accidents on the roads. These surveys were commissioned by Continental as part of its approach to delivering Vision Zero through enhancing drivers’ knowledge, attitude and awareness.