FOMO keeps UAE motorists glued to mobile phones

A UAE driver can't seem to stay off the phone while navigating through traffic. Picture: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Texting and driving shows no signs of abating across the nation. UAE motorists’ addiction to mobile phones while driving continues to grow, despite high fines and statistics suggesting dangers of the practice, a new road safety survey revealed this week.

RoadSafetyUAE in association with insurance company QIC Insured interacted with 1,033 residents across the country for a new YouGov survey that showed at least 74 per cent motorists use mobiles while driving, Gulf News reported.

The survey covered different nationalities and age groups in all the emirates, highlighting the country’s obsession with mobile phones.

“What we have found out through this is very scary, people are still sticking to the old habits in a very irrational way. It seems, they are so hooked and addicted to using mobile phones they do not rationalise anymore,” said Thomas Edelmann, Founder & Managing Director of RoadSafetyUAE.

The survey revealed that 60 per cent of the respondents use their hands-free in only half of their drives.

Of those drivers whose cars have built-in hands-free systems, 75 per cent actually use the system, while those who don’t claim better functionality and easier use of their hand held mobile phones. The use of hands-free accessories are more popular with older drivers.

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“35 per cent of the respondents said that they use the mobile phone even though their cars have hands-free facilities comes as shocking to me. They say they find using the hand-held device easier. People know it is dangerous, still people don’t put an effort to change their habits,” said Edelman.

He said the constant evolution of more and more communication platforms is making it difficult for people to stay away from their phones.

“With so much happening in the social media, there is always this fear of missing out. But does it worth more than your life. If we actually think about it, we will see most of the texting and usage of phone while driving is not essential, but we don’t give it a thought,” he added.


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