Drive safely this Ramadan

Last March 19, our company, Tristar, conducted the Quarterly Safety Meeting (QSM) where our heavy duty truck drivers were reminded by our Group HSEQ Manager M.S. Sridhar to drive safely during Ramadan. We also had Dubai Policeman Omar Muslim Usman discussing new traffic fines and Bridgestone Fleet Solution Manager Syed Haider explaining about tyre safety.

Every year, a few days before Ramadan, Tristar implements a special training program for fasting drivers which covers sleep management, physical fitness, and proper food diet. These activities prepare the drivers to be able to perform their task well while transporting dangerous goods and flammable products. Sridhar has given these tips:  

  • Apply Defensive Driving Course (DDC) techniques,
  • Take enough rest and sleep to avoid fatigue,
  • Travel very early to avoid rushing,
  • Eat healthy food during Iftar and Suhoor,
  • Take a 15-minute break after driving for two continuous hours, and
  • Pay extra attention while driving near mosques and congested areas.

He added that non-fasting drivers are also cautioned to be ready for any unexpected incident on the road.

Tristar has been conducting the QSM for the past 20 years to continue raising awareness on road safety and, in the process, changing the behaviors of drivers. The QSM is also an opportunity for customers, suppliers and local authorities to discuss specific perspectives on road safety and share best practices.

At the Road Safety seminar we organized in Riyadh in April 2019, all the speakers reiterated that 95% of all road accidents are preventable because they are caused by human errors. Robert Burgon, Executive Head of Training at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents or RoSPA, explained that drivers can avoid accidents by being focused while driving so that they don’t get distracted and make the right judgements especially at junctions and intersections.

Our Tristar Group CEO Eugene Mayne added that to reduce road accidents and fatalities, drivers should change bad habits like speeding, talking on the mobile phone and not following traffic rules.

Our company is a recipient of numerous international safety awards for our road transport business and shipping operations, including regional and local CSR awards for our road safety initiatives. We have received 14 Gold Awards from the UK-based RoSPA which has a long standing and well-established presence in the health and safety industry for more than a century.

RoSPA Gold Award winners have achieved a very high level of performance, demonstrating well developed occupational health and safety management systems and culture, outstanding control of risk and very low levels of error and harm.

We have also partnered with the Traffic and Roads Agency of the RTA in launching the ‘Golden Rules for Generational Safety’ at the Zayed Education Complex in Al Barsha last March 9, where we installed our ‘Kids Traffic Arena’. About 250 school children participated and we will be visiting five other schools until May.

This is our second school children road safety awareness partnership with the Traffic and Roads Agency. The first was during the 48th UAE National Day where Tristar sponsored 10,000 car air freshener kits with a safety message addressed to parents. We brought our ‘Kids Traffic Village’ to the Dubai Modern Education School on November 26, 2019 and the JSS International School on February 23, 2020.

The students were given the opportunity to ‘drive around’ in pedal cars and are taught traffic rules like stopping before a pedestrian crossing and wearing seat belt all the time. The idea behind the campaign was to increase road safety awareness among school children who can remind their parents who drive to follow basic traffic rules and road safety guidelines like not using mobile phone while driving.

Here’s an excerpt from a news item on Filipino drivers which quoted me in October 2016:

“They are good drivers,” said 1st Lieutenant Saad Al Sabhan, who led a team from Dubai Police in presenting an overview of statistics related to traffic safety as well as recent new regulations at the event held at the Ghantoot Hall of Golden Tulip Al Jazira Resort.

“They behave well on the road. They don’t have any problems with driving. They respect road rules,” he said in a phone interview. Of course, he said, there are also some Filipino violators of traffic rules, but apparently their number is not as many as many as the worst drivers.

“Sinabi ng police kasi yung chart ay about bad drivers — from Syrians to Bangladeshis to Egyptians, Indians, Emiratis and Pakistanis,” said Art “Popoy” Los Banos, PR professional representing Tristar Group.

“Then the police asked, ‘Who do you think are the best drivers?’ A Filipina in the audience shouted ‘Filipinos.’ Then the police lieutenant said, ‘True, especially with women drivers,’” Los Banos said.

Regardless of nationality, we should be safe drivers on the road. Just think of the innocent passengers and even bystanders who can become victims of reckless driving and road traffic accidents. Think of them as your loved ones. Drive safe everyone not only this Ramadan but every day.  Ramadan Kareem.

Art 'Popoy' Los Banos
Art 'Popoy' Los Banos
Art ‘Popoy’ Los Banos is a 21-year Dubai resident with his wife, broadcast journalist Rachel Salinel. He is in charge of Corporate Communications of the fully integrated energy logistics service provider Tristar Group, where he is the only Filipino in the senior management team. He was the former 2008 Philippine Independence Day (PID) organizing committee chairman in Dubai and the Northern Emirates. Art ‘Popoy’ and Rachel were named as one of the Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf for four years by Illustrado Magazine. In December 2019, he received the Philippine Pride Awards in Public Relations from the Philippine Business Council-Abu Dhabi chapter for his ‘exemplary leadership and tireless efforts to continuously support, boost and campaign for excellence to uplift the Filipino image.’ Recently in June this year, Art ‘Popoy’ was named as one of the Philippines’ Top 30 Leaders on LinkedIn.

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