Lorry accident prompts Emirati to call for blind-spot mirrors

ABU DHABI // An Emirati motor sport enthusiast hopes to use social media to push for mandatory blind-spot mirrors on heavy vehicles after he survived an collision with a lorry. The incident last month prompted Saif bin Adhed to film a YouTube video recounting the accident, in which a lorry switched lanes and crashed into […]

ABU DHABI // An Emirati motor sport enthusiast hopes to use social media to push for mandatory blind-spot mirrors on heavy vehicles after he survived an collision with a lorry.

The incident last month prompted Saif bin Adhed to film a YouTube video recounting the accident, in which a lorry switched lanes and crashed into his car.

He believed that many accidents could be prevented if all lorries were fitted with blind-spot mirrors.

“I want to draw the attention of the authorities to the need for life-saving extra mirrors to reduce blind spots,” said the 30-year-old.

The accident took place near a bridge to the used car multiplex near Nad Al Hamar in Dubai.

“The lorry driver did not notice me in front of him and hit my car from behind,” he said.

“He admitted his mistake and apologised. But what struck me the most was the fact that not all lorries have front blind-spot mirrors, which should be made mandatory.”

An avid car collector, Mr binAdhed has published videos on YouTube and Instagram about changing tyres, modifying cars, his experience of buying a car and drivers’ tendency not to use indicators.

He was fortunate to escape injury in the crash, but said he would like the authorities to advance the road safety agenda.

“Today, God spared me, but what if someone else lost his or her life?” he said in the video.

Cross-over mirrors, installed in front of the cabin of a lorry, had been proven to eliminate a lorry driver’s front blind spot, said Michael Dreznes, executive vice president of the International Road Federation.

“It allows the driver to see any person at least about one metre tall and passing about 30 centimetres in front of the vehicle,” he said. Fitting cross-over mirrors should be considered to help the UAE meet the United Nations Decade of Action challenge of reducing road fatalities by half by 2020.

Legislation in the UAE and other GCC countries does not mandate the types of mirrors that are standard requirements in European countries, according to Simon Labbett, project director at Sheida, an Omani road safety body.

“European vehicles are imported into the UAE either as new or second-hand, and have set size design standards, as have the trailers they are attached to,” he said. “However, trailer standards in the GCC are not the same.”

Locally manufactured trailers tended to be wider and longer than European trailers, so the view from the driver’s seat into the mirrors was restricted because of the trailer’s additional width, said Mr Labbett, a former director of Transport Research Laboratory UAE. “If we are to make lorry driving safer, we need to legislate not only for additional mirror requirements, but this also needs to be matched with appropriate trailer sizes and standards,” he said.

New technologies such as blind-spot systems are not enforced in the UAE because such accidents involving lorries and heavy vehicles are not frequent enough, according to Bassam Al Kassar, chief executive of Fleet Management Systems and Technologies.

However, the authorities have enforced other regulations to minimise similar accidents, such as banning lorries from overtaking and restricting heavy vehicles to using the furthest right lane.

“Professional and good drivers pay more attention to blind spots when they intend to switch lanes,” said Mr Al Kassar.

“Another good practice is installing another small mirror that reveals the blind spot to the driver on both sides.”

Mr Labbett suggested a review of the requirements for driver training and testing, which need to incorporate timely use of all mirror combinations when manoeuvring.

“Driving a lorry is unlike driving a car,” he said. “There are numerous blind spots and the driver has limited or no visibility of vehicles either at the back, side or front.”

rruiz@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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