Dubai: School bus driver Anil Kumar was on his routine drive back to school on Monday morning, when he was approached by a police official, giving him cause of concern.
As if that wasn’t a reason enough to raise Kumar’s heartbeat, a Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) officer followed and asked Kumar to step out.
The officials told Kumar there was a traffic fine against him, making him wonder what was his offence.
Within moments more people arrived at the scene and there was a commotion, as even the school administrators walked out, trying to ascertain what was the matter.
As he was still trying to understand what was happening, the officials burst out in laughter and handed him a certificate and Dh1,000 — the Responsible Road User Award. Only then he realised he was not being fined but rewarded for his years of good driving.
“I was more confused than scared. I was very nervous. If there was a fine, I know they would just hand me a ticket and leave but I saw a lot of people gathering, officials from Dubai Police and RTA. I am really happy to have won this award,” said Kumar, who has never received a fine in six years of working as a school bus driver.
The award is part of Shell GoldStar Contest that rewards roadusers for following safe driving practices. Supported by Gulf News, the campaign will run until March 7 across Dubai and Sharjah.
'I thought I did something wrong'
Like Kumar, Filipina sales promoter, Maggie Jean Manlapig, was also nervous when she was approached by police and RTA officials during her drive to a supermarket in Muhaisanah.
“I saw an RTA official driving on my left pointing at me, I thought I did something wrong. I was nervous, but I drove on and parked near Lulu Hypermarket. As I walked out, two officials approached me and asked me to follow them. I was surprised that instead of a fine I got reward of Dh1,000. This will remind me to drive better,” said Manlapig, who has been driving in the UAE for four years.
Among the winners was 60-year-old Emirati businessman Mattar Khalifa, who also wondered what was the fault when he was stopped by police.
“When you are stopped by police the first thing that comes to mind is a fine. I was wondering and trying to trace back my route to see if I did anything wrong and I was sure I didn’t make any mistake, which was confirmed when they rewarded me,” said Khalifa, who has been driving for almost 40 years.
Held in collaboration with RTA, Sharjah Police and Ciel Marketing and Events, the road safety initiative across Dubai and Sharjah rewards cash prizes to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists who exhibit good road safety behaviour.
Organised over three days, 10 safe road users are selected daily for following a variety of road safety practices, such as using seat belts, staying off the phone, lane discipline, using child safety seats, using indicators and observing speed limits.
Non-drivers are selected for using designated pedestrian crossings and road traffic safety practices to reduce risk associated with cycling.
A cash prize of Dh1,000 and a certificate is awarded to each winner.