Monday, June 1, 2009

Wear your seatbelt

As I mentioned before, the UAE is an extraordinarily safe place... unless you are on a stretch of paved asphalt. More evidence, from tomorrow's The National:

Road deaths account for 15 percent of all deaths in the [Abu Dhabi] emirate, making it the second-leading cause of death overall.

Fifteen percent doesn't sound like a lot until you start looking at context. For instance, in the United States, about 4.5 percent of deaths every year are from accidents of ALL TYPES. Heart disease, cancer, strokes and respiratory failure all are above that category, by a huge margin. That's right. You are more likely to die in a car accident than of one of the world's leading killers here in the UAE.

Part of the issue is that drivers tend to be a bit more, shall we say, aggressive. But as the government points out, a microscopic 11 percent of Emiratis wear their seatbelts. That, combined with fast cars and winding desert roads, creates the kind of scenario middle school drivers-ed filmmakers dream of.

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