News headlines

Excerpts from, UAE Dailies

Alertness drops in drivers using mobile phone: study

DUBAI — Feb. 21: Research carried out in Dubai has shown that using a mobile phone while driving reduces the driver’s alertness by 30 to 50 per cent, greatly increasing the risk of an accident.

The “Mobile Handset vs Handsfree Study” in Dubai was carried out at the Emirates Driving Institute (EDI) recently under the supervision of the UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

Andrea Akehurst, Director of Operations, RoSPA, UAE, told a Press conference at EDI yesterday that the study was conducted on 10 willing participants from a cross section of the society. “On a scale of 100 per cent, the alertness of drivers while using mobile phones was reduced by 30 to 50 per cent,” she said.

Akehurst pointed out that only half of the participants managed to have a decent conversation while talking on the phone. And only 50 per cent of the participants were alert to the obstructions put across to them as part of the test.

She said other RoSPA studies had revealed that a majority of the calls taken by drivers on a mobile are intense, complex, business-related and distracting.

Clinical and forensic psychologist Dr Raymond H Hamden of the Human Relations Institute at Dubai’s Knowledge Village said psychologists had established that drivers under stress were more likely to meet with accidents as  stress levels increase during phone conversations.

“Previous research in other countries has shown that using mobile phones while driving increases blood pressure and heart rate. Driving causes anger and frustration. Therefore, mixing driving with a mobile may cause adrenaline levels to vary,” explained Dr Hamden.

Among those who took part in the study was rally champion Mohammed bin Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club for the UAE. He said: “Driving in the UAE is dangerous enough due to the high-speed roads. Talking on the phone while driving adds to the risk.”

Amer Ahmed Belhasa, Managing Director of Emirates Driving Institute said: “Studies such as these are an excellent way of driving home the message that it’s the responsibility of all citizens to help make our roads accident free.”

This is RoSPA’s first road safety research undertaken in the Gulf region. According to Akehurst, more such studies are planned over the next three months.



Where am I? Ask your mobile!

DUBAI — Feb. 21: Tourists or residents may no longer need to worry about being lost in the UAE ever again. The new Location Based Services (LBS) launched by Etisalat yesterday will allow users to know their exact location on a map.

The USB will also help people locate the places of interest around them.

Costing 80 fils for each location request, the service is automatically accessible to all Etisalat mobile phone users, including Wasel customers, across the emirates.

LBS has been launched under two applications — “Mobile Map Service” and “Nearest Service”.

The Mobile Map Service enables the user to receive a map showing his/her current location, with the option of forwarding the map to other mobiles or emails. The Nearest Service provides the user with nearest points of interest such as ATMs, petrol stations, hotels, and restaurants etc., with a map indicating their locations in relation to the user.

To receive the map of one’s current location via MMS, the customer can send an SMS with “m mms” to 1333.

For complete listing of all the available options, customers can send “mlist” to 1333.

To enjoy full service functionality, Etisalat customers can activate their WAP service, free of charge, by sending SMS containing “a weyak” to 1010.


Drop in temperature forecast

ABU DHABI — Feb. 21: There will be a drop in temperature today and the overall weather condition will improve by tomorrow, an official at the National Authority for Communications said yesterday.

“The maximum temperature will fall to 23ºC while the minimum temperature will range between 14ºC and 17ºC. Waves will continue to rise up to 6 to 8 feet,” he said.

He explained that some parts of the country experienced low pressure accompanied by a significant rise in temperature over the past two days.

Winds blew at 25 knots, he said, adding that sandstorms reduced visibility considerably in several parts of the country.


‘Night-outs’ cost woman children’s custody

ABU DHABI — Feb. 21: A divorced woman has lost custody of her children for her drinking habit and frequent night-outs.

Rejecting the woman’s petition to reclaim the custody of her children, the Federal Supreme Court has upheld the judgments of the lower courts, which had denied her the custody rights.

The woman’s former husband had first filed a lawsuit at the Sharjah Sharia Court of First Instance, pleading to take away the custody of the children from his divorcee, who he said, often spent her nights in clubs and bars, drinking and dancing in the company of men.

Following the confession of the woman to these charges, the court placed the children under the care of their paternal grandmother.

However, the woman contested the verdict at the Court of Appeal, but her petition was rejected and the previous judgment was upheld.

The woman finally moved the Federal Supreme Court, which observed in its ruling that her  defence was unjustifiable and irrelevant.

The Federal Supreme Court also turned down the divorcee’s plea that she had plunged into the drinking habit only because of her divorce. The apex court observed that even if her plea was sound, she lacked integrity, one of the main requirements for keeping children under her custody.


Dubai - Cleaner jailed for assault

Dubai - Feb. 21: An expatriate cleaner who sexually molested a young student was sentenced to one year in prison followed by deportation, the Dubai Court of First Instance ordered. The 36-year-old Indian was convicted of molesting an eight-year-old girl at her home while working in the country illegally.

The child told police that the man had come to clean the house and when she returned from school one afternoon he dropped his trousers and asked her to touch him. The girl was so terrified she was unable to tell her mother what had happened until some time later and then police were alerted.



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