Abu Dhabi: Come September, motorists in the capital will have a chance to be dubbed ‘driver of the month’ by participating in a project which aims to reward safe drivers, the Abu Dhabi Police announced today.

The first of its kind ‘Smart Driver’ initiative will monitor drivers’ manoeuvres across the emirate via a smartphone application which can be started at the beginning of each trip. The software will be linked to a database where motorists can upload the trip information gathered by the application.

The top-ranked driver will be eligible for a Dh10,000 prize offered by the Traffic and Patrols Directorate at the Abu Dhabi Police as an incentive to cultivate a culture of safety, saving lives and resources, a statement by the police said.

“I would love to participate in such an innovative safety initiative. Since participants have nothing to lose and I am confident that I would at least get to the third or fourth rank, why not be a part of it? Plus, the prize money is something that everyone can use to their advantage,” said Kalthoum Samir, a 23-year-old Abu Dhabi resident.

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As the application is connected to users’ smartphones, it is also able to detect whenever mobile phones are being used when driving whether for calling or sending messages, and whether a headset is connected. It is important to note that the information gathered is not sent to the Abu Dhabi Police or shared with any external parties, but is assessed on a separate scale designed especially for the project.

Egyptian resident and managing director of an Abu Dhabi-based group of companies, Adel Mohammad Al Rokuh added: “I think the application is a very good idea, especially as a lot of people drive irresponsibly here. If drivers know their behaviour is being monitored, even if they are not going to be penalised for making mistakes, I think they will be more conscious of their actions, and I suppose if there is prize money to be won, then why not?!”

Brigadier Hussain Ahmad Al Harithi, director of Abu Dhabi Police Traffic and Patrol Directorate, said: “The ‘Smart Driver’ project is expected to revolutionise traffic safety as it empowers all drivers in the emirate so that they can take ownership of their traffic responsibilities and enhance their driving to rise up the rankings. Drivers will now be able to easily see their areas of improvement, and we have the flexibility to adapt the evaluation as the need arises.”

The application contains a GPS  tracking system which will help assess drivers’ speed relative of their location. Another feature includes ensuring that drivers are provided with police and medical assistance in cases of emergencies such as accidents or vehicle breakdowns, in the shortest time possible.

Work is under way to develop a calculation mechanism within the application that deducts or adds points depending on whether drivers use mobile phones, or use hands-free accessories where necessary.

source: gulfnews