According to a study carried out by the UAE University, safe driving is considered to be ‘unmanly’, ‘cowardly’, and practices followed only by ‘unskilled drivers’. Non-safe behaviours, such as tailgating, cutting up other drivers, flashing lights to get others to move out the way, etc. are reportedly considered ‘respectable’ by young men surveyed in the United Arab Emirates. The study also found that a large percentage of drivers in the country partake in reckless and/or illegal driving practices, such as driving whilst using mobile phones, not wearing a seatbelt, and eating and drinking whilst driving.
“Driving-related accidents are the single largest cause of fatalities in E&P related operations” (OGP), with driving presenting a risk not just to freight and distribution, but also to employees driving on company business and to and from work on a daily basis (in recognition of this risk, Shell produced the Hearts and Minds tool Driving For Excellence, available from the EI Hearts and Minds website). Whilst the study focuses on the United Arab Emirates and is not necessarily representative of other countries or regions, it does show how cultural differences can affect safety behaviours, and considering the Middle East’s importance in the petroleum industry, this may be a study worth reading.