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Rubbernecking campaign launched.

Dubai: Rubbernecking and congestion caused by rubbernecking causes delays for ambulances reaching accident sites and could lead to additional accidents, a Dubai Police official said.

Colonel Jamal Al Bannai, Acting Director of Dubai Traffic Police, said that motorists slowing down or stopping to look at an accident (which is termed rubbernecking because it involves the act of stretching one's neck in order to get a view of an accident), has become a frequent occurrence, and it's the reason why Dubai Police decided to launch an awareness campaign on Wednesday to educate people on its dangers.

"We have been noticing many people who stop or slow down to watch [the scene of] the accidents, which obstructs the flow of traffic, causes additional accidents and, sometimes, slows down ambulances and rescue cars," he explained.

The two-week campaign titled aACAyAvoid Crowding -- Give Way' will target drivers and pedestrians alike, and will be communicated through social media, awareness drives at malls and via media channels, such as TV, radio and newspapers.

"Some people are annoyed at those who slow down to look at accident sites, but when they reach the spot, they find themselves slowing down too to have a look. This is the reason why we need to make everyone aware [of this problem]," Col Al Bannai said.

The idea behind the campaign, he said, is not to fine vehicles that obstruct traffic but to teach people not to rubberneck in the first place.

In the first three months of this year, there were a total of 60,944 fines issued to people who were obstructing the flow of traffic in general and rubbernecks comprised a small percentage of those fined.

An example of the dangers of rubbernecking is that of an accident where an Emirati woman's car overturned on the Dubai-Al Ain Road after she lost control of her car and veered off the road as she was too busy looking at an accident site.

"Pedestrians stopping to looking at accident sites is not such a big problem as is car drivers slowing down because [the former] move on when asked by the police to clear the area. However, those taking photographs of the accident could face legal action." Col Al Bannai said.

The campaign is a joint effort between the Dubai Traffic Police Department and The Department of Community Service at Dubai Police.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Apr 16, 2015
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