The Ministry of Interior (MoI) organized a traffic safety forum on Tuesday at Salwa Hall of Doha Sheraton Hotel. The forum was attended by director of Traffic Department Brigadier Mohammed Saad Al-Kharji and Secretary General of National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC) Brigadier Mohammed Abdullah Al-Maliki, a number of department directors, media persons, columnists, representatives from public and private entities and other concerned persons.
Welcoming the attendants, the Public Relations Director of the MoI Col. Abdulla Khalifa Al-Muftah said that the traffic safety cannot be achieved without corporation of all public and private institutions and community members. He further said that this forum aims at enhancing communication channels between traffic authorities and those concerned with traffic from different segments of the society.
The Traffic Department director Brigadier Mohammed Saad Al-Kharji thanked the good number of audience and asked all to take part in the open discussion.
Brigadier Mohammed Abdullah Al-Maliki presented an introduction on the National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC) which assigned with formulating and devising general traffic policies, plans and procedures required for developing traffic services in the country from technical, educational, organizational, legislative and medical aspects.
“The Committee will draft short and long term traffic strategies cooperating with various departments that have connection with traffic works taking into consideration the inclusive growth the country witnesses”, Brigadier Al-Maliki said pointing out that the Committee will work mainly on two dimensions: raising traffic safety level on road and providing it with latest traffic systems while second dimensions is raising traffic awareness among the citizens and expatriates.
“The Committee will recommend relevant traffic legislations for roads and transportation and road engineering plans and it also carries out traffic researches and studies and improves medical rescue services. Participation in local, regional and international conferences dealing with traffic safety issues and employing innovative and latest tools in raising awareness also come among the functions of this Committee”, NTSC secretary explained.
Regarding the members of the committee Brigadier Al-Maliki said that in addition to the Ministry of Interior, the Committee comprises of representatives from Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Urban Planning, Supreme Council of Health, Supreme Council of Education, Supreme Council of Family Affairs, Ashghal (Public Works Authority), Qatar University, Qatar Media Foundation and General Secretariat for Development Planning.
Traffic safety expert at the Traffic Department Ademola Illori offered a presentation with the visuals of some of the traffic accidents in Qatar. According to him, not using seat belt, mind distraction (using mobile or other devices), balloon tires and over speed are the main four reasons that cause accidents on Qatari roads. When some of these factors are combined with each other it will lead to major accidents, he explained. He showcased some pictures of traffic accidents happened due to use of balloon tires which is actually made for desert safari not for road.
Commenting on the presentation, the Traffic Department Director Brigadier Mohammed Saad Al-Kharji addressed the issue of sitting kids below 10 years in front seat. Displaying videos, Brigadier explained that the seat belt is not designed for kids and they may be forced to the front window in case of accident. As well, the safety air bags may cause them suffocation due to severity of accident, he said. He also covered the issue of not using seat belt and the effect it causes on the driver and co-passengers.
In the open discussion, director general of Dar Al-Sharq Abdul Latheef Al Mahmood said that although the Traffic Department is doing a lot, they should take care of those places where more accidents happen and especially pedestrian accidents. He also requested for more traffic patrols in the roads to prevent accidents and find the violators.
Commenting on this, Traffic Department director said that it is not practical to deploy police on every road but more awareness initiatives are required to inspire motorists to abide by traffic culture. He also praised Al-Sharq Arabic newspaper for its special page on traffic awareness.
Interacting in the discussion, director general of Civil Defence Staff Brigadier Abdullah Mohammed Al-Suwaidi said that Qatar has multi-cultural community and they have different ways of driving culture which necessitates more awareness programs while appreciating the intensive awareness programs by the Ministry among expatriates.
Traffic discipline, defects in road engineering, role of Mosques and religious sermons, community policing and media in traffic awareness also were raised in the discussion. Educating youth about reckless driving was also one of the main points of discussion.
Concluding the discussion, the Traffic Department director Brigadier Al-Kharji promised that all suggestions and points raised in the forum will be studied by the Department. He also noted that further meetings and discussion will be held in this regard and asked all the stakeholders to be partner with the Traffic Department and other wings of MoI to ensure traffic safety in particular and security awareness in general.