Tuesday, January 28, 2014

There has to be a way to report rash driving - Community Report - Gulf News - Dt 27th January 2014

No way to report bad driving

Reader says that all buses should have contact details to report bad driving practices.
By Ramesh Menon Gulf News reader
Published: 18:07 January 26, 2014

The effort by the UAE transport authorities to streamline road safety is getting side tracked by some inadvertent measures taken by transport carriers. Or are they intentional?

I am referring to the regulation to display a contact number on the mini and heavy buses carrying passengers. These days, many of them do not have a signboard and some of them display email addresses or switchboard numbers. Both are not effective, in case of an emergency situation, or in order to report road rage noticed on the road.

What was surprising to me was the fact that even school buses did not carry these signboards. In addition, these signs are to be written in lumniscent letters in a sufficiently large size so that they can be read easily during the day or night.

These boards should also be placed on all the government-owned transport vehicles, as they are also seen driving on the hard shoulder at times.

A few days ago, I struggled to find out the details of a speeding bus driver who was continuously flashing the headlights at me and driving at a speed higher than the regulatory speed. On another occasion, I was too shocked to see a big trailer speeding within the city of Abu Dhabi, but there was really no way to find out the company details or contacts for those responsible for it.

We need more awareness on the dangers of heavy vehicles speeding. I humbly request the concerned authorities to ensure these traffic regulations are strictly followed.

The reader is based in Abu Dhabi.

To read it in original, visit GULF NEWS online

Campaign Safety First - Start Early, Drive Carefully, Reach Safely

Start Early, Drive Carefully and Reach Safely. A campaign part of the "Safey First" series to create an awareness on rash driving scene on our roads these days. Share it with your friends and family. Let "Safety First" be your mantra. The campaign is part of a TQM project initiated through my blog www.clicksandwrites.blogspot.com and Passionate Photographers group on Facebook. God Bless.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Get tough with errant motorists - Letters to the editor - The National Dt. 26 January 2014

Get tough with errant motorists

It is extremely sad to read that within a week’s gap another major multiple-car collision happened on the UAE roads (Heavy fog on Abu Dhabi to Dubai motorway causes mass vehicle pile-ups, January 24).

Obviously the weather is not the culprit, as similar conditions are experienced by people in many other countries across the world. The main culprit are the drivers themselves.

A lot has to be done in terms of driving practices and attitude of drivers, especially during such unfavourable weather conditions. I would suggest the authorities implement new rules incorporating mandatory reduction of speed limit by 40 per cent during inclement weather conditions.

At the same time, fines should be doubled or tripled with compulsory community services for errant motorists.

A strong sense of road safety should be cultivated through sustained efforts. More police presence and warning signs could also be part of the solution. Meanwhile, one could follow the simple principle: start early, drive carefully, reach safely.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

To read it in original, please visit THE NATIONAL online

Saturday, January 18, 2014

It’s drivers, not the fog, that caused 57-vehicle crash - Letters to the editor - The National - 19 January 2014

It’s drivers, not the fog, that caused 57-vehicle crash

Letters to the editor - The National online dated 18 January 2014
in print 19 January 2014

Your news article, 57-vehicle pile-up brings traffic to a standstill on Al Ain-Abu Dhabi highway (January 16), reflects a black day in the history of road safety in the UAE, even though on this occasion it seems there were no fatalities.

The issue is, once again, drivers’ behaviour during adverse weather conditions. Some of our roads, and especially the Dubai-Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi-Al Ain roads, have strange weather pockets where one experiences dense fog with visibility below 50 meters.

Some drivers ignore the danger and continue to drive fast without any caution for themselves or others. When they encounter drivers ahead who have reduced their speed, the result is a multiple collision of the kind in your article.

The UAE is lucky to have both modern weather forecasting equipment and a comprehensive road-control system. The police should join forces with meteorological experts and issue alerts about dangerous weather conditions such as fog or sandstorms more promptly than they do now. This should be backed by deploying patrol cars on these roads during these foggy mornings so that they create a sense of caution among those who speed.

The speed limit ought to be temporarily lowered by 40 per cent during times of poor visibility, with speed cameras adjusted to suit. In times of fog and sandstorms, the fines for speeding ought to be doubled and those repeat offenders ought to have their licences suspended or cars impounded.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

To read it in original, please visit THE NATIONAL online

Friday, January 17, 2014

‘Safety First’ mantra - Gulf Today - Short Take - Dt 18 January 2014

‘Safety First’ mantra

The year 2014 for the UAE literally began with a big bang when Dubai created history with one of the most exhilarating fireworks display ever witnessed in recent times. It took great effort and lots of dedicated man-hours to achieve the fantastic feat.

Meanwhile, the Chinese year of the Horse has already gained momentum and we are already into its third week within no time.

Promoting safety is one aspect I have been concentrating on for sometime now — especially road safety.

Whichever way one tries to educate people, it is careless minds and actions that spoil all the good work, which is very sad. However, our focus should not be derailed and efforts to maintain safety should continue with sustained interest and dedication.

The recent accident on Abu Dhabi-Al Ain Highway is a case in point. If only sufficient caution had been exercised by those on the road at the time, the accident – which was one of the most serious on the emirate’s roads — could have been averted.

The other day, I was overtaken by a minibus, whose speed limit is supposed to be 80kmph, while I was cruising along at just below that speed. Seeing that I was not inclined to accelerate, he began gesticulating and shouting at me. I gave him way and he sped past at a much higher speed than permitted.

I allowed him to overtake me in order to note down the details of his transport company so as to alert them about his driving style.

After a signal, when I finally caught up with him, by way of mocking at me to slow down, he began indicating to me the presence of a speed camera that was installed ahead.

The incident reinforces my belief that there will be no escape from tragedies till road users stop making mockery of traffic safety regulations.

Let “Safety First” remain our mantra for the benefit of all.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

To read it in original, please visit GULF TODAY online (Short Take - Gulf Today - Dt. 18 January 2014)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Road safety is a matter for us all - Letters to the editor - The National Dt 14 January 2014

Road safety is a matter for us all

Road safety is a matter for us all

I regularly drive between Abu Dhabi and Dubai and concur with the views expressed about road safety in the UAE (Offences show a fatal disregard for UAE traffic rules, January 7).

It all comes down to the attitude of drivers on our roads. It seems to me that it is always the same set of drivers who speed.

If you observe the traffic coming back from Abu Dhabi on Thursdays, or any normal day after 3pm, you will see many cars driving at a fast pace, bumper to bumper, with the drivers trying to bully their way past other vehicles.

The authorities should show no leniency towards anybody, as the rules are meant for the safety of everyone on the road.

The police and transport authorities should join forces with all government and private institutions to make sure that everybody understands and obeys the traffic rules.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
To read it in original, please visit THE NATIONAL online

Sunday, January 12, 2014

UAE labourers seek shelter from the storm, but not from danger - Letters to the editor The National Dt 13 January 2013

UAE labourers seek shelter from the storm, but not from danger

UAE labourers seek shelter from the storm, but not from danger

Letters to the Editor

January 12, 2014 Updated: January 12, 2014 17:17:00

Your coverage of the recent rainfall (In pictures: Rain sweeps across the UAE, January 8) was very good.

This is especially so for the one taken by Sarah Dea of a group of workers taking shelter under a parked bus on a construction site. This will stand out in my mind for a long time – mostly because it is scary from the point of view of health and safety.

What would have happened if the driver rushed to the vehicle and reversed it? This photo highlights the shortcomings in safety procedures that can be found on some work sites in the UAE.

I hope those involved in this site will take appropriate action about the hidden-danger aspect involved in such cases and prevent accidents of the kind that could have happened here through the casual approach towards safety demonstrated in the photograph.

Let our motto for 2014 be this one: Safety first.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

To read it in original, visit THE NATIONAL online

A tribute to men in white - Indian Naval Band Orchestra performing at ISC Abu Dhabi

A tribute to men in white - Indian Naval Band Orchestra performing at ISC Abu Dhabi 
17th September 2013

An event organised by the Cultural Wing, Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi.

It was indeed a great evening of music. Apologies for the casual recording quality as I was totally unaware of the abundance of talent I witnessed. It was an experience to not underestimate any artist. Looking forward to their return to Abu Dhabi. Also looking forward to more interesting presentations from the Cultural Wing of Embassy of India Abu Dhabi. Sincere tribute to all our men in white.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Searching for answer - Short Take - Gulf Today Dt. 11 January 2014

Searching for answer

Recently, I met an old friend after a very long time. We talked about the years that have passed by. His children have grown up and are now in college.

I remember those kids when they were very young and carried the same memories of them even now. 

However, while speaking to him, I understood that they were no more small kids.

They had their own views and clear-cut conviction of life for them now and ahead. The new technologies like Internet and other online facilities available to enhance knowledge are their aids.

It reminded me of my childhood and the lack of such facilities then. We were dependent on teachers and elders for guidance to choose future paths.

After my friend left, I kept on thinking about which is the right method - the older or the new generation. Haven’t got an answer yet!

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today online.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Cost-cutting of drugs raises hope

Cost-cutting of drugs raises hope

With regard to your article, UAE slashes cost of diabetes drugs by more than 80% (December 31), this move could be termed as the parting gift of year 2013 by the Ministry of Health that might lead to reduction of the cost of several life-saving medicines, and especially those that deal with lung cancer.

Cancer treatment is one area which the ministry has to focus, specially as the medicines involved are extremely costly and many times not readily available.

As a result, there are many cases and instances where patients had to import them at their own risk.

The Ministry of Health and hospitals concerned, in tandem with the pharmaceutical companies, have to give special concession to patients who deserve compassion and care.

This move by the ministry is a great first step that will bring a ray of hope to many who are under prolonged and critical medical care.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
To read it in original, please visit The National online

Safety first - Short Take - Gulf Today Dt 28 December 2013

 Safety first

The year 2013 just giving its way to a new year. It was a year of mixed fortune and feelings for many. Natural disasters beyond imagination that happened in Philippines and continuous man made calamities took several life known and unknown to us.

It was also an year of achievements and hope for many. Dubai getting Expo 2020 was one such great occasion, which all residents of the UAE are keenly looking forward to.

If there is a growth, it has to happen collectively and with all putting equal and combined effort. Road Safety is one important issue that I would wish everyone puts in a combined effort.

Let all of us decide to follow traffic rules strictly and do not show any road rage and do not violate pedestrian rules in the coming year. Let there be no man-made accident due to negligence. Safety first, let that be our motto for the year 2014

Friday, January 3, 2014

Rein in the rage - Short Take - Gulf Today Dt. 04 January 2014

To write or not, has always been a mind teaser within me. Expression of thoughts as it comes has been an unwinding process for a long time.

From small topics to bigger ones, by now, it has indeed given me lot of space on the Web. As also, several contributions to the community.

Earlier days, they used to repeatedly say pen is mightier than the sword. In a way, it is true even now.

One such achievement is the effort for continuous campaigns on pedestrian safety.

The media and authorities are devoting more attention to streamline things to make our roads much safer.

However, there are a few who ignore the basics and cause destruction to themselves and others.

New Year eve was one such occasion where I witnessed road rage by many, for no reason whatsoever.

Some cars were moving at unimaginable speed and coming too close to the bumper.

I was imagining a driver who was new on the road to get in between these mad minds.

More needs to be done to alert authorities and control this tendency and try and curb it as much as possible.

There is no rest for me till then. I will continue to write, using all possible platforms. That’s the resolution for 2014.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

Short Take : Gulf Today Dt. 04 January 2014

To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today online

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Taxi campaign is important - Letters to the editor - Dt. The National 02 January 2014

Taxi campaign is important

I refer to the article Dubai campaign offers visitors warm welcome and taxi advice (December 30).

Distributing information material to the public on illegal taxi service is a good move by the Dubai authorities. 

Illegal taxis pose many risks to those who use them, because those drivers are not registered and the condition of their vehicles is not known. Nor does anyone know about the type of insurance they have on these vehicles.

Furthermore, these illegal taxis operating at the airport create a negative impression on the country.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

To read it in original, please visit The National online