My First License™ – I Know My Road Rules™ gives kids in the UAE a much needed primer on road safety. The program, started by Roshanara Sait in 2001, aims to instill good driving skills in children aged between 6-9 years old throughout Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. The program is delivered in two parts; a classroom briefing and a driving simulation. In class they learn basic safety rules and key road signs. Then, using miniature cars, they learn to navigate a network of road signs, zebra crossings, a roundabout and traffic signals. After successfully completing the challenge, each student is given an envelope that contains a personalized plastic license card with their age and photograph, a letter to the parent informing them of the campaign and a booklet about two siblings who learn road rules with their mother on the way to school.
This is the second year of the campaign, which touched 5,000 kids across 11 schools last year, with the help of BMW Group Middle East. Participants at GEMS Cambridge International School in Abu Dhabi were excited to buckle up inside miniature Bimmers but that’s just the beginning of BMW’s involvement. “They are passionate about road safety”, said Sait. “Their professionalism and expertise has improved the [overall] quality of the program”. Together with Ciel Events, BMW has led the charge to promote and educate children on key issues such as buckling up and believe that these efforts will produce better drivers.
While the curriculum is spot on, the people behind the program are what drives its success. Emma Brain, a freelance Reporter for Dubai Eye 103.8, volunteers as classroom instructor. Outfitted in a BMW driver suit, she presents safety information and engages participants throughout the process. RTA, Knowledge and Abu Dhabi Police are present at each event.
Roshanara Sait, campaign Founder and Director of Ciel Events, also attends each session. Having lost her brother in a road incident, she’s personally committed to programs like My First License™ – I Know My Road Rules™. And, she doesn’t stop there. Sait leads two other road safety programs to engage adults. The University program includes an audio visual presentation and driving competition whereby contestants put their skills to the test in real cars. Participants are judged on maneuvering and breaking – functions that young adults realize are harder to master than they seem, once they give it a try, explained Sait. The winners of the competition meet the Chief of Police and are declared Road Safety Ambassadors.
Sait is also responsible for Road Star, the 17 year old campaign that rewards good drivers around the UAE with cash. “Rather than spend on media I’d rather give it to people for doing the right thing”. She later joked about entering the Guinness World Records for longest running road safety program – an accolade well worth pursuing for such an important cause.
My First License™ – I Know My Road Rules™ is well on its way to becoming a long running success especially with help from auto industry leaders like BMW Group Middle East. The participating schools this year are Wellington International School, Victoria International School, Al Ittihad Private School, The Apple International School, GEMS Royal Dubai School, Al Ameen School, Al Bateen School, GEMS Cambridge International School and GEMS Winchester School.