A single SMS. A failure to buckle a seatbelt. It only takes one second to change a life forever. That’s the message of a new government-led road safety campaign.
Through traditional advertising and social media channels, the government will share advice and information on safe driving in an effort to reduce the dismal road accident rate here.
The current focus is on the importance of wearing seat belts, car and tire maintenance child car seats and booster seats, and the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving. On its website, “One Second” states:
When you’re behind the wheel, using a mobile phone in ANY situation, even when stuck at traffic lights, means that your attention is not on the road. ONE SECOND’s distraction is all it takes to get into a major accident. You are four times more likely to crash if you use a mobile phone while driving.
Qatar’s increasingly congested roads have an unenviable reputation as some of the most dangerous in the region.
According to the MOI, the number of accidents resulting in injury jumped nearly 12 percent last year. The number of severe injuries increased some 3.2 percent, while the number of people killed fell half a percent, from 205 in 2011 to 204 in 2012.
Officials point to that drop as a sign that new road safety measures such as speed cameras and the re-design of roads and junctions are starting to improve the situation.
They say the overall rate of fatalities has gone down because 18,000 new cars and 108,000 new drivers were added to the country’s jam-packed roads last year. Thus, the figures “point to a better future,” says the Head of the Traffic Department, Brig. Muhammed Saad Al Kharji.
The MOI has set a target of reducing the number of serious traffic accidents in Qatar from 300 to 250 per 100,000 people by 2016, and reducing the average annual traffic mortality rate to 10 deaths per 100,000 people – a figure it achieved last year.
Credit: Image courtesy of the One Second advertising campaign