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I Pledge Campaign is launched by EmaratAl Youm as an extension to the unofficial campaign launched by activists on social networking sites with the aim of driving home a simple message: Do not use cellphones, and stop texting, while driving. The campaign hopestoenddeadly traffic accidents that are the direct consequence of the dangerous practice of using cellphones while driving, which has become an epidemic in our society, claiming lives and destroying families.

The campaign uses awareness as a direct means to reach goals instead of setting penalties only. For example, tickets and fines have not successfully prevented speed and reckless driving; yet, we still use and expand the application of this technique more than ever, even if such technique does not follow a mature and well-examined awareness-raising approach. A fine does not save a life; the damages of losing human resources exceed the fine amounts imposed on those committing the violations. I Pledge Campaign addresses to the dangerous practices on our streets and roads andapproach people from an awareness perspective rather than fear from penalties. What sets this campaign apart is its reliance on people’s awareness without any pressures, incentives, fines or rewards. It focuses mainly on self-convincing, through a very simple pledge, which when signed, the driver will agree not to use the cellphone while driving. The person may join the campaign by signing this pledge, and sending it to the Emarat Al Youm’s website, the website of the Ministry of Interior or Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) who sanction and sponsor the message of the campaign

A driver who is able to comply with the pledge they took will be part of the campaign; a person who is not able to do that will neither be forced to join nor deterred by any other campaigns or more severe penalties. Everyone needs to realize that they should play their part to end this deadly epidemic. If we can reach out to a large number of citizens and residents and convince them toget their signatures on the pledge, then, we will consider to have achieved an actual and true success. The biggest deterrent for a human being is his/her consciousness; no one can ask another person to do or not to do something unless they are strongly convinced of that. That is what the campaign seeks to achieve.

It is an integrated public campaign. We will try to reach out to young people in physical locations as well as on virtual sites, such as social networking sites and on other websites, in schools and universities; it is open to everyone. We urge organizations, ministries and the public and private sector to participate and contribute to the campaign by promoting it and collecting signatures to increase the numbers and categories of pledgers.

Although the campaign is sanctioned and sponsored by the Ministry of Interior, it is a national call to action for all other ministries. The issue is of concern to everyone; everyone is responsible; everyone’s task is to raise awareness and educate about how to make roads safer. After all, it is an issue that concerns the community as a whole and raising awareness about it benefits everyone as victims of traffic accidents can be our sons, daughters, brothers, mothers, friends, etc. Losing a young soul is a loss for the country. Let’s all work together to prevent the loss of lives claimed by preventable car accidents.

By: Samy Al Riyami Emarat Al Youm
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