DUBAI – Child car seats may have been announced to be mandatory for everyone, however, it has been revealed that not all taxis in the country are fitted or available for passengers to use while using a taxi service.
According to Sharjah Taxi, they have four types of taxi vehicles – small taxi that can carry five passengers, small ladies taxi carrying five passengers, a family taxi carrying eight passengers and handicap taxis.
However, when asked if any of their taxis provided child car seats, they said no. They advised their passengers to just hold on to their children while onboard.
The statement contradicted the new rule being implemented in the country that every passenger, including kids in a car seat, must buckle up inside a moving vehicle.
Drivers caught not placing their children in a car seat could face a AED 400 fine and four black points.
Drivers are also responsible for making sure that every passenger inside their vehicle have buckled up or else they will also face a fine of AED 400 per person for not fastening their seatbelt.
So far, only a few taxi companies have been anticipating the child car seat rule by executing it early on.
Careem, a ride-hailing app, has an option “Careem Kids” for customers who would like to have child car seats fitted or available in the vehicle, according to their website.
Aside from Careem, the Dubai Airport taxis from the Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC) are fitted with child car seats upon request. The company has added the extra service since 2011.
“Customers can order a cab fitted with a child seat when calling the Booking and Dispatch Centre at the RTA Public Transport Agency at 04-2080808,” CEO of DTC, Yousef Al Ali, was quoted as saying in a khaleejtimes.com report.
Some Abu Dhabi taxis can also be fitted with baby car seats upon request.
The Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), in collaboration with the Department of Transport (DoT) and the Centre for Regulation of Transport by Hire Cars (TransAD), executed the practice in 2015, according to a gulfnews.com report.
“In a collision at a speed of only 50 kilometers per hour, an unrestrained baby or child can fly into the windscreen with a force that is equivalent to falling from a three-story building. It is physically impossible to hold on to a child if a car crashes at that [low] speed,” Dr. Jamal Al Mutawa, manager of community health and surveillance at HAAD was quoted as saying in the report.
For his part, Faisal Al Suwaidi, director-general of main roads at DoT, said that if a child is conditioned to wear a seatbelt from an early age, then he or she will likely pick up the habit up to later on in life.