Saturday, March 2, 2024

Main Killer on UAE Roads is DISTRACTED DRIVING – WHAT Distracts Motorists? Study

 Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Thursday, 29. February 2024



    Distracted Driving is the #1 mis-behavior leading to death (25% / 85 persons; MOI)
    Behavior study unlocks the root causes for distraction
    Danger of distracted driving is well understood
    1 out of 5 motorists admit being distracted
    Measures of countering distractions described
    Mobile phone is the biggest source of distraction, but the majority sees a simple fix
    Study commissioned by Al Wathba Insurance and RoadSafetyUAE, conducted by YouGov                (n=1,001) in January 2024


According to the latest available data from UAE’s Ministry of Interior (MOI), distracted driving is the number one mis-behavior on UAE’s roads, leading to 85 fatalities (i.e. 25% of all road fatalities). The MOI numbers are from 2022 and the 2023 data are expected within the next months.

“Al Wathba Insurance teamed up with RoadSafetyUAE to analyze the extent and the root causes of distracted driving which is the main contributor to fatalities on our roads.  The results and insights of this YouGov study will help stakeholders to work on initiatives aimed at addressing these very root causes. The study also analyzed the extent to which motorists are distracted, and the respondents’ perception of how to drive in a less distracted manner. Commissioning this study is part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy and we are certain that the proof points of our commitment will benefit the society.”, states Muralikrishnan Raman, Chief Finance and Operations Officer of Al Wathba Insurance.

“Motorists are aware of the dangers of distracted driving, but at the same time, a high percentage admits to drive in a distracted manner. Distractions stem from the driver’s own behavior, behavior of others in the car and from external factors. It is of utmost importance that motorists reflect on these sources of distraction and to overcome them, to benefit themselves, their passengers and other road users! The mobile phone comes on top of the list of distractions, but motorist define the simple ‘switch off or on silent’ as the remedy to fix their distractions. We call on all involved stakeholders to address their respective audiences, and in particular the eco-system of mobile operators and mobile phone brands, with their powerful consumer reach. Distracted driving is the main killer on our roads, and corporations, governmental bodies, the media, and the road users can help us make a difference!”, adds Thomas Edelmann, Founder and Managing Director of RoadSafetyUAE.

90% of the respondents state that they think distracted driving is dangerous, the study conducted in January 2024 by YouGov with a representative sample of 1,001 UAE residents (n=1,001) shows.

Only 81% are always fully concentrated, which means that one out of five motorists around us does not pay full attention. This number even reaches a ratio of 1 out of 4 in certain segments, like with very young drivers in the age bracket from 19-24 years with only 77%, Arab Expats 74% and Westerners 76%. It goes without saying, that 100% of motorists need to be always fully concentrated while behind the wheel!

Here are the top 5 root causes of distracted driving:

1. 33% claim that the use of mobile phones distracts them. The age bracket 25–34-year-old is more affected (39%), Arab Expats (44%) and drivers in Sharjah (58%). 22% claim in addition, that hands-free calls distract them, with more males being distracted (26%) and a whopping 48% of Emiratis. Summarizing, these 2 related root causes stand for 55% of perceived distraction and hence, they clearly are the most pressing issue that needs to be addressed!

2. The behavior of other drivers (44%) is a massive distraction. Females (55%) are more affected than the average, as are older motorists in the age bracket 45 years and older (63%), Westerners (68%) as well as drivers in Sharjah (49%) and Abu Dhabi (48%). Motorists must be aware of the impact of their behavior on fellow road users. The cure is to display a truly caring attitude for others! We need to drive with each other, not against each other.

3. The navigation system is seen as a source of distraction by 28%, with the highest values in the segments 35–44-year-old (38%) and Westerners (37%).

4. The complex road system also distracts 28% of respondents, again with the highest values in the segments 35–44-year-old (42%) and Westerners (41%), but also Emiratis (39%).

5. Reaching for objects in the vehicle (21%) is the last of the top 5 distractions, with Females (30%) and Westerners (29%) being more effected.

Below is an overview of all the analyzed forms of driving distractions:

Q6. Please select what has distracted you from being focused on your driving in the UAE? Please select all that apply.

Inside the car


External factors

* Using my mobile phone


Behavior of other drivers


Navigation System


Complex road systems


* Hands-free phone calls


Advertising billboards


Reaching for objects in the car


Supercars and other specialist vehicles


Adjusting the air conditioning


Road signs


Eating and drinking


The UAE skyline


Passengers speaking to you


Slowing down to view a traffic accident


Poorly behaved children


Changing the radio station/entertainment system


Lighting/smoking/extinguishing a cigarette


Putting on make up


Children watching DVDs


What helps motorists to concentrate while on the road?

A whopping 77% of drivers state that ‘switching the mobile phone in silent or off’ helps them to concentrate while driving!

“We believe major and urgent efforts of all involved stakeholders must be taken to address this vital point! Motorists are aware that this simple remedy will help them. It is a simple little action motorists must take to tackle the main killer on UAE roads! We all can do it, and there is simply no excuse not doing it!”, Muralikrishnan Raman and Thomas Edelmann agree.

In addition, respondents feel these the measures would help them to concentrate:

    Speed limiters 51%

    Presence of speed cameras 44%

    Navigation System 33%

    Being alone 28%

    Listening to my music, playlist, CDs 26%

    Police presence                26%

    Listening to the radio 26%

    Having others in the car 23%

    Coffee or caffeinated drinks 19%

    Proximity of reckless drivers 17%

    Talking to a passenger 16%

The details of this survey can be found in the ‘featured’ section on:

About Al Wathba Insurance:

From the very beginning, Al Wathba Insurance has centered its business around people. Al Wathba Insurance has constantly innovated solutions to help manage risk in ways that meet the needs of the customer and the market. Now, with 25+ years of solid experience in servicing the UAE insurance market, a strong capital base and the support of a panel of internationally renowned reinsurers, Al Wathba Insurance is on its way to being the Company of Choice in the UAE, one that creates real tangible value to its stakeholders and provides the needed security and reliability to its customers. The Company is proud to be rated BBB- with a positive outlook by S&P global ratings and to have been recognized by the UAE’s insurance regulatory body for 2 consecutive years for its transformative digitized and smart technology.


About RoadSafetyUAE:


RoadSafetyUAE’s vision is to contribute to reducing the number of road traffic fatalities, injuries and accidents in the UAE. RoadSafetyUAE’s mission is to raise the awareness for proper conduct on our roads, in an engaging manner and on a broadly communicated and permanent basis. RoadSafetyUAE’s award-winning platform engages with the stakeholders traffic participants, governmental entities, the media, and more than 20 corporate social responsibility (CSR) minded partners. ‘Tips & Tricks’ are the content backbone, provided for more than 60 topics of road safety, all specifically relevant to the UAE. More can be found on



For further information, please contact:

Thomas Edelmann,

Founder and Managing Director


Mob: +971 50 55 19 216


Zeeshan Haider

Head of Marketing & Communications

Tel: +971 2 4185301

Mob: +971 58 530 5200