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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Qatar parents urged to challenge bad driving after child struck by car

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Paramedics rush to the accident site outside Doha College West Bay.
Paramedics rush to the accident site outside Doha College West Bay.

In an incident that many parents have described as “their worst nightmare,” a Doha College primary school student was hit by a car while crossing the street to get to school yesterday morning.

The girl had been walking with her mother and younger sibling from their car toward the school gate at around 7:30am when a silver Honda CR-V struck her.

The family was taken to the hospital by ambulance, and released hours later after receiving treatment.

It is not clear if the driver is a Doha College parent.

The accident comes weeks into the school year, and follows repeated warnings from head teachers across Doha to parents, to drive carefully in and around school campuses and be more mindful of pedestrians.

Letter to families

In a letter to parents yesterday about the accident, Doha College Principal Mark Leppard said:

“We have continually been requesting a far more vigilant approach to driving round the college, both at our West Bay and Al Waab campuses, and it saddens me that some individuals have not taken this advice and adopted a more respectful attitude towards driving in and around the college campus.”

Leppard urged members of the school community to take stock of their individual actions, and asked that they ensure they “drive with due care and attention,” avoid talking on mobile phones or speeding, and park in a safe and careful manner to reduce the chance of any future accidents.

He also requested that parents “ensure they cross the road in a safe manner to further reduce the risk of accidents.”

And in an appeal to help improve safety around the school, Leppard called on parents and members of the school to work as a community to report dangerous incidents, adding, “we all need to challenge poor driving behavior.”

City-wide problem

As traffic increases in Doha, and many schools suffering from a shortage of parking spaces, other principals have also been urging their parents to be more careful when driving, parking and walking to and from school.

Yesterday, Doha British School Principal Terry McGuire also issued a traffic warning in his weekly newsletter sent out to parents. He said:

“I must remind you that the welfare of our pupils is our highest priority. Whilst drop-off and pick-up is much improved, there are still many parents and drivers who, despite repeated warnings and appeals, are still acting in a way that is creating a danger for others.

I will be relentless in the pursuit of those whose actions cause danger to the children.”

Some schools are also in talks with public works authority Ashghal to help improve the road layout in their surrounding areas with safety features such as more speed bumps and marked crossing points.

Fatal accident

This is not the first time that a pupil has been hit by a car outside a Qatar school. In October 2009, five-year-old Dana Sakr died after she was struck by a car as she crossed the road outside the Lebanese School in West Bay.

Dana Sakr

According to a safety investigation by Northwestern University in Qatar journalism students, the police report issued at the time stated the cause of the accident was “ignorance and lack of attention, (and) driving with an expired training license.”

At the time, the 26-year-old driver was jailed for four days until he paid a QR10,000 fine, and his expired training license was taken from him for three months.

The NU-Q report added that several measures were taken outside the school to safeguard against other tragedies:

“Dana’s death precipitated changes in the Qatari school system. A security guard controls traffic in the area where The Lebanese School in Qatar, Qatar International School and Lycee Voltaire, Qatar’s French school, are located. Speed bumps, street lines, traffic signs and road divisions have been added to prevent traffic accidents in school areas.”

Protecting pedestrians

The proportion of pedestrian fatalities as a figure of overall road deaths fell from 32 percent in 2008 to 28 percent in 2012 here, according to figures in a report submitted by Qatar to the UN earlier this year.

But this is still some way short of Qatar’s goal of reducing pedestrian mortalities to 17 percent of road deaths by 2016.

Earlier this year Ashghal announced that it had issued QR600 million worth of road safety upgrades, including new pedestrian overpasses, better street signage and construction of additional lanes.

Improving safety in school zones was listed as a the top priority, as the authority aims to safeguard pedestrians in Qatar.

The country’s infrastructure faces multiple pressures, as the population continues to soar, with thousands of cars joining the roads each month. Meanwhile, there is increasing demand for more schools to be built to meet ease the pressure on waiting lists.

Thoughts?

25 COMMENTS

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Rien
Rien
6 years ago

“the 26-year-old driver was jailed for four days until he paid a QR10,000 fine, and his expired training license was taken from him for three months” … What?, the punishment for killing a human, in a road accident, is 4 days jail and QR.10000 fine! But you kill a Camel in a road accident, the fine is QR.750000 – what a great justice system!

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Rien

And his EXPIRED training license was revoked for 3 months. LOL. The stupidity just keeps on comin’.

Restie
Restie
6 years ago
Reply to  Rien

+ QAR200k for the death of the pedestrian.

Aussiegirl
Aussiegirl
6 years ago

I can not understand the thinking when putting several schools in close proximity to each other. The new DC West Bay has a school next to it, DC and ASD, DESS and now another next door, Al Jazeera, Parkhouse and 2 other schools all in the same block. Granted that some of these schools have been in those locations for a long time but they seem to be continuing the trend. Surely this leads to terrible traffic congestion in the area at school times and while parents of one school may drive well and be considerate the same curtesy may not be shown from drivers from other schools. Thank goodness the family in this case were not badly injured.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

Too many idiots behind the wheel, letters from principals won’t change that, especially since the worst offenders are drivers rather than parents

Chipper fluffypants
Chipper fluffypants
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

I majorly disagree. The only thing the hired drivers do at our school is double an triple park. The bad drivers are the expat moms in the giant Hummers and Ranger Rovers on their mobile phones and coffee in their hands who jump the curbs, overtake to be first in line, speed through the parking lot and park in the cross walk so they don’t have to walk 5 feet in the sun. The only solution is to hire off duty police or have locals patrol the area. Nobody listens to the Asian/African guards- especially these moms. I see it everyday.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

You MAJORLY disagree? Right back at you, in a very major way. I take my kids to school every day and my experience has been horrible drivers, I have yet to encounter these evil moms of the west that you speak of.

Chipper fluffypants
Chipper fluffypants
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

If I’m not mistaken, it was an expat driver who hit this woman and children- not a hired driver. I take my kids to school every day and who is it that is always arguing with the guards at school? Not the drivers but the moms who insist on parking where ever they want.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

At the school where I drop my kid off, the main danger is from the LC’s and similar SUV’s driven by gutras using that street as a cut-through because there is traffic on the larger surrounding roads. They get frustrated waiting for a kid to get out of a car and zoom around (sometimes in the left lane, usually on their phone) without looking, launching off the speed bumps. I’m surprised stories like this aren’t more common and glad they aren’t. I know this comment is playing to stereotypes, but the scenario is so repeatable and predictable that it’s hard not to. I honestly don’t see examples of crazy expat mom drivers at my kid’s school, so I guess that’s good to not have to worry about that too.

Also, the traffic crossing guards at the Lebanese school don’t do a thing when it comes to improving safety. People don’t follow their prompts, and half they time they wave you through while kids are still in the crosswalk. Paper solution that does no good in solving a real problem.

Best wishes to the poor family in this story. I how to never have to experience that myself.

Lucy Dean
Lucy Dean
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Well I do and each and everday at DC . It’s both driving parents and parents being driven. They park on corners , curbs , pavements , and defy the guards, ignoring the safe drop off procedure. I was honked to move when walking my kids on the pavement and a lazy mare drove her SUV onto it. The school has a hard enough job educating the children it isn’t their job to teach the parents too.

Restie
Restie
6 years ago

I’m glad that the student is recovering and pray the incident didn’t leave any lasting damage.

These damn Honda CR-V drivers eh,…I’d imagine the pitchforks would be well sharpened if there was another popular Japanese car model involved 😉

Osama Alassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  Restie

It’s a “Silver Honda CR-V” … Lucky it’s not a “White Toyota LandCruiser”…

Diego
Diego
6 years ago
Reply to  Restie

Haha,you got it.Say what you want but there are bad drivers of all stripes and sizes and while I found some Qatari drivers to drive fast and some to be aggressive,they were also the most courteous if I waved to them to enter the roadway in front of me or leave a parking spot at the mall.I have also been given the right away on occasion by local drivers.But as they say in India, Indian drivers do not think accidents are the result of bad diving on their part, only bad karma. Hope the child recovers fully.

Not Drinking The Cool-Aid
Not Drinking The Cool-Aid
6 years ago

there is no respect on the roads period. I once threw a rock at a pickup as I was crossing the street on Khaleej street because despite the empty road, this pickup sped up to cut me off and I was on foot!

Best wishes to go the people that were struck. I hope them a full and speedy recovery

Rebecca Wyatt
Rebecca Wyatt
6 years ago

Nothing about the driver except they don’t know if she was a parent with a child at the school? Was she taken in for questioning? Receive a ticket? Please follow up!

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Another sad tradegy but why the headline parents to challenge bad drivers. Outside the indian school an indian challenges a qatari driver to be safe. Only one way that is going to end.

Where is the police to patrol the streets and do their jobs? enforcement is the only way to stop dangerous driving

Osama Alassiry
6 years ago

I drop my daughter to school every day. She never crosses any roads.

I’ve seen parents drop their kids on the other side of the road. I’ve seen students walking, they were dropped near the exit on the highway because their “parent” wouldn’t “waste” time taking them closer…

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Osama Alassiry

Ive recently returned to Australia. Most children walk and ride to school because there is no danger like qatar and its lunatic driving culture. And drop of and pick up for kids that dont walk or ride is orderley civilised and courteous. Qatar has a long long long long long way to go and I dont think.it will ever get there, no care for others.

Amber
Amber
6 years ago

I think this isn’t a black and white issue. People really need to be reprimanded for bad driving here more. Everyone thinks they own the road. And the totally disregard for people crossing the street is also disgusting. I’ve been almost hit by stupid drivers on many occasions.

But at the same time parents have got to be more vigilant of their kids crossing the road and teach them road safety. Whenever I come into work at the school I work in, I always see parents just sending their kids out of the car and letting them cross the street by themselves. I’m not talking about year 6 students I’m talking about year 1 and 2 students crossing the road by themselves.

I guess they can’t be bothered leaving the comfort of their car to help their kid across the street.

Marisa Marinho
Marisa Marinho
6 years ago

In the same way we see police directing traffic at Roundabouts during rush hours, I would like to see police around school areas too… the problem is… I have never seen police outside my children’s schools. Never… not even once. That speaks for the scale of the problem. So, who is going to roll up their sleeves? I say conscious parents and conscious schools should make this slow shift in mentality happen. I believe it is possible for schools to teach children to become future safe drivers. And I even believe it is possible for children to “teach” their parents to drive carefully. Schools should find creative ways of embracing this challenge. It is a pretty big one. This is Qatar, anything is possible.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago

Driving the kids to school I sometimes feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog day,………everyday the same nightmare and I can’t change it. Kids in the car mean nothing to other dangerous drivers. No life is safe. Parking patrol cars at roundabouts is not going to be any deterrent either. Many do not even want to drive at the weekend it’s so bad now.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

Bad drivers includes parents. As for the child that was killed, I know this culture values human life cheaply butI I didn’t think it was as bad as that

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

There is no hope. No one cares for anyone else, no community spirit, segmented society, no enforcement of law, the list goes on,. On every level.but wealth Qatar is a failed state.

Jason
Jason
6 years ago

We can argue all day about who the bad drivers are, what types of cars they drive and so on ad nauseum.

What needs to be said is that bad driving is a societal problem here–it is a problem on the level of the entire society.

People do not follow the traffic laws. People flout the traffic laws every day. Every day.

Because of this, some of the bad drivers die. Because of this, some innocent people die.

People do not follow the traffic laws here. It appears to be considered ok to break the laws if you don’t get caught.

In sum, the Traffic Police are either unable to make people follow the laws or are unwilling to make people follow the laws.

In other words, the traffic police are either completely inept or are complicit in these crimes.

Doua Ben
Doua Ben
6 years ago

I’ve been reading a bit the comments around here and a lot of people have been trying to justify the cause of the accident based on nationality and/or type of car… I disagree. Idiots are everywhere, be it Qatar, Spain or India. Who cares where the idiot was from ? Will that justify for his lack of attention and good driving ability ? I don’t think so.
The major problem we’re facing here is a never ending cycle : 100 % lack or urban planning and education ; had Qatar been prepared for a 2.1 million population, parking slots would have been created, roads would have been bigger, schools would have been spread around doha as opposed to one next to the other… Because of that, people have become frustrated, soooooo agressive on roads, I have never seen so many rude people wanting to go in front of you, texting while driving, breaking the rules etc..and on goes the list ;

I do hope the little girl is okay, and let’s follow up and what happened to the driver….

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