Dubai taxis get 'Back Off Radio'

A new device is being tested in Dubai cabs over the next few weeks

The Knowledge

We’ve all been a little worried as a taxi passenger in the middle of Dubai rush hour.

But thanks to an innovative system, we may never have to worry about dangerous driving again.

The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) today announced an initiative to help reduce road traffic accidents.

A rather direct device dubbed Back Off Radio aims to reduce tailgating on the city’s busy roads in turn potentially saving lives. And it’s as direct as it sounds.

In partnership with Arabian Radio Network (ARN) it will alert cab drivers when they are too close to the car in front by playing a message inside the vehicle which warns those behind the wheel they could be harming someone.

Not only that, but a message will warn those in other cars who are entering a taxi’s personal zone to add some distance.

“Back off Radio collects real time information that doesn’t only warn about tailgating but can also detect speeding, tired and aggressive driving, which can then be analyzed to assist the RTA to create safer roads,” Dr Yousif Al Ali, CEO of RTA’s Public Transport Agency said. “The initiative utilizes a device that is built into our taxis. Once the taxi reaches a speed of 60km/hour, sensors fitted to the front and rear of the car are activated. If the taxi enters within the safety zone of the vehicle in front, a safety message will be sent to the taxi’s speaker inside the car.

“Similarly, if a vehicle approaching a taxi breaches the safety zone, they will receive a message through their own radio. This safety message will tell the driver to back away from the vehicle in front and to remember to keep a safe distance as it could be carrying a friend or loved one.”

Tests are being rolled out over the next few weeks before all cabs in Dubai will have them thereafter once they prove effective. It’s thought the method will be a success due to the radios so popular among drivers.

Mahmoud Al Rasheed, General Manager ARN said: “Radio is the primary medium for people while driving and as such the Arabian Radio Network has a responsibility to ensure we encourage all our listeners to drive safely by wearing their seatbelt, no texting while driving and no tailgating.

“We are delighted to be involved in this unique initiative and hope it creates a positive impact with Dubai’s residents.”

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