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Thursday, May 13, 2021

New device forcing drivers to buckle up launched at Qatar traffic week

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Lifebelt
Lifebelt

As Qatar kicks off the 31st edition of GCC Traffic Week under the slogan “your decision determines your destiny,” a new device is being launched here to compel motorists to buckle up before driving.

The device, called Lifebelt, is a three-part electronic system that can be fitted to any vehicle by a technician. Once installed, it sends a radio frequency signal that prevents ignition until the driver and front-seat passenger put on their seatbelts.

If the seatbelts are undone once the car is in motion, the vehicle would continue running, but the radio, navigation screen, CD player and other electronic features would be automatically disabled until the belts are re-fastened.

Lifebelt has been around for a number of years, and became more widely-known after its inventor Robert Allison appeared on US network ABC’s Shark Tank program five years ago, appealing for business professionals to invest in it.

The product has been rolled out by one automotive company in Texas, and will now be available in Qatar for the first time.

Doha launch

Zaid Qassim, the founder of Doha-based technology company Ajyaltek, told Doha News he bought the rights to market the device internationally and was launching it in Qatar as part of a campaign to reduce the number of deaths from road accidents.

Zaid Qassim
Zaid Qassim

Qassim’s company has a booth at the traffic week venue Darb Al Saii in Al Sadd, where Lifebelt is installed in a Land Cruiser loaned to him from Toyota.

The 21-year-old Canadian said he was inspired after a number of his own friends and acquaintances died in traffic accidents here:

“Qatar has one of the highest road death rates per capita in the world. There was a time when I was going to three funerals a week of young people as a result of car crashes. I just thought we have to do something about this,” he said.

After watching a re-run of the episode of Shark Tank that featured Allison pitching for investment, Qassim contacted the inventor and struck a deal, giving Ajyaltek exclusive international marketing rights for the product, which he plans to eventually roll out across the wider region.

Lifebelt at Traffic Week 2015
Lifebelt at Traffic Week 2015

Qassim said he wants to encourage younger people particularly to think about buying it as a way of enforcing a seat belt habit while driving.

Lifebelt, which is on sale for QR550, can be ordered through Ajyaltek’s website by sending an email to the company to arrange purchase and installation.

The initial package operates the driver’s seat and front passenger seat. Additional systems can be bought for passengers sitting in the back seat.

Seat belt campaign

By law, all drivers and front-seat passengers are required to wear a seatbelt in Qatar.

To drive this point home, the launch of Lifebelt will soon be followed by a wider public road safety awareness campaign on the importance of seatbelt usage here, in conjunction with the Traffic Department.

Under the slogan Qatar Vision Zero, reflecting the ultimate target of no road deaths in the state, the campaign aims to enlist the support of more than two dozen ambassadors and diplomats in Qatar and other public figures to help change the perception that seat belts are for “old people,” Qassim said.

“We will use them to get across the message that using a seat belt is a manly thing. It’s not just for old people. Everyone needs to buckle up,” he added.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Research published earlier this year from the Qatar Road Safety Studies Center (QRSSC) at Qatar University found that young men aged 20 to 30 years old made up an overwhelming 90 percent of the fatalities in the state as a result of traffic accidents.

Not buckling up while driving is considered a contributing factor to many road-related injuries and deaths in Qatar.

Meanwhile, a separate study conducted in 2012 by Ipsos Mori for Qatar Shell showed that only two-thirds (64 percent) of Qataris aged 16 to 21 wear a seat belt, compared to 75 percent of those aged 22 to 49.  In contrast, nearly 90 percent of expats said they buckled up.

Safety regulations were found to be the major factor in forcing drivers to adopt road safety measures. On average, 81 percent of drivers put on a seat belt, compared to 71 percent of front-seat passengers and just 8 percent of back-seat passengers.

Late last year during a workshop, a leading Qatar doctor revealed the extent of the problem, focusing particularly on unrestrained children in vehicles.

According to Dr. Ayman El-Menyar, director of the Integrated Clinical Research Unit of HMC’s Trauma Center, who examined traffic accidents involving children from 2010-2012:

“Eighty-six percent of the children who died during those years had injuries so severe that they died even before reaching the hospital, or at the scene of the crash.

Forty percent of victims of all transport-related injuries, and 80 percent of victims who died from their injuries, were 15 to 18 years old. The data also shows that only 1.2 percent of the injured passengers and drivers were using seat belt or a car seat.”

While children under the age of 10 years old are legally not allowed to sit on the front seat, this is often not enforced.

Traffic week

This week’s traffic week activities at Darb Al Saii are free and open to the public.

The various stalls set up at the venue include ones from international automobile companies like Toyota and Harley Davidson, and booths showcasing work done and gear used by Lekhwiya, Al Fazaa, the Civil Defense Unit, the K­9 Unit and various other branches of the country’s police force.

There are also daily lectures on accident prevention and responsible driving, as well as several handicraft booths, restaurants, a fun zone for children and separate camel, pony and falcon displays.

Other offerings include free art workshops for children; seminars on driving decisions, traffic mistakes and motorbike risks; demonstrations by local driving schools; and a speaker series featuring guests from Hamad Hospital, the Qatar Lawyers Association, Qatar Red Crescent, the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and the Qatar Awareness Group, according to Qatar News Agency.

Activities at Darb Al Saii run until Saturday, from 8am to noon, then 4pm until 10pm.

Thoughts?

35 COMMENTS

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Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

Currently a lot of people just hook the seatbelt around behind the seat, tricking the car into thinking the occupant is wearing it. Will this device prevent that?

brorick
brorick
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

I was thinking that. plus sometimes you need to just move the car 10 meters, or even just switching on the engine for service reasons

Salama
Salama
6 years ago

“Bad” driving from some here and they come in ALL nationalities

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
6 years ago

I think this might have a better result: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9TlxdyYNUY

Michkey
Michkey
6 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

Irish road safety videos are the best!
http://youtu.be/9MVxKcS03BI

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago

“Once installed, it sends a radio frequency signal that prevents ignition until the driver and front-seat passenger put on their seatbelts.”
What if there is no passenger in the passenger seat?

Rapha31
Rapha31
6 years ago

You engaged the passenger seat belt at all times. 😀

R.D.H
R.D.H
6 years ago

I wear my seatbelt so would never get this, just the same as how people who don’t wear seatbelts won’t voluntarily get this

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

First apps, now gadgets. Here’s a brilliant gadget, traffic police that enforce the law and pull over offenders on the spot for penalties or prosecution instead of attempting to direct traffic on roundabouts. The amount of crazy drivers all over town is shocking, and they way they behave if you tell them off or try to prevent them from running you off the road shows their confidence that there will be no consequences to their actions.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

Well said….Bravo.

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed

This is a promotion for a product launched for sale… It has nothing to do with the traffic department.

JonathanQ
JonathanQ
6 years ago

The only effective deterrent to unsafe driving habits is more policing.

DickDePilot
DickDePilot
6 years ago

I attend a number of RTC (Road Traffic Collisions and on a number of occasions the seat belt was actually done up, sadly the dead or seriously injured people who were occupying the seat at the time of impact were sitting on the belt and had only put the clip into the lock to shut the noise up!

DickDePilot
DickDePilot
6 years ago

I have driven a car in America before which had the seatbelt system fitted into the door. As you opened the door the seatbelt moved forwards towards the steering wheel and when you closed the door in moved to wards the B Pillar and secured the driver or passenger in place. No way to get around it

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago

Ooooo a common sense brain implant! How exciting. There is certainly a market for it!!!

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

I know many people who buckle the seat belt behind them and sit in their car, in order to stop the car seatbelt alarm. This trick, I assume, can also be done with this device.

Rapha31
Rapha31
6 years ago

They should reduce traffic accidents first by enforcing the law.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago

If it comes in diamond studded gold with a prominent brand it might work.

Omar
Omar
6 years ago

Many people fasten the belt from behind the seat 🙂

Diego
Diego
6 years ago

I would not like this when you are washing your car or just moving it around in your yard.I think it does serve a purpose,but then an irritating buzzer does the same if you did not buckle up and were in motion.Another irritating buzzer would be the sound of a police siren in your rear pulling you over for an infraction.But in reality,a part of me finds it somewhat peaceful in Doha as opposed to North America as you don’t have the constant thought about being pulled over for this or that. But the freedom in Doha is counterbalanced by driving conditions that drive one crazy.But hey, its Qatar’s culture so who am I to say.I prefer to police myself on the roads but at times it is really clallenging with drivers who cannot.

MHT
MHT
6 years ago

I already have that on my car!

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago

I don’t need a device like this, because since my memory can go back in time I have always remembered that as soon as sitting in the car I have to buckle the seat belt….thanks to my parents!

Ali
Ali
6 years ago

I wonder if the founder of Ajyaltek wears his seat belt. Because in his facebook pic not only he has no seat belt on, he’s also littering and there’s a video of a 13 year old kid driving them to a mall (Yes I did my investigation)…
Why would I or anyone in their right mind buy a device that doesn’t have any impact, restricts the freedom of the driver and costs 550 riyals? The guy obviously didn’t do feasibility study or market research and is unaware of all the barriers to enter the market, including the preexisting tech that is embedded in the car, all those people who disable the seat belt warning sound, people who couldn’t care less about wearing seat belts, people who would actually make an effort to go and get this useless device installed in their cars and the people that fasten from behind their seats. To me its just like the useless “As seen on tv” products.
Here’s an idea for a device, how about a seat belt lock for when the car is running… or a device that jams the cellphone signals when the car is on the move… or a device that doesn’t allow you to drive above 40k/hr until the seat belt is fasten and is seen by the camera on the chest of the driver and passenger and all the devices I mentioned can be produced and sold for less than 400 riyals. Why can’t they make devices that actually make a difference?
Another thing is this is not a job for a kid, features as such are suppose to be implemented by the car manufacturers during the production phase and if not then enforced by the traffic police. It’s not like people forget to put their seat belts on that this device will help, people don’t really care about it and this device is not going to change that.

Zaid
Zaid
6 years ago
Reply to  Ali

The said video with the 13 year old driving.. The one dated 6 years ago as you failed to mention Sherlock Holmes? If you dont have an interest in contributing to something good please dont spend all that energy into the common art of being a keyboard warrior

Zaid
Zaid
6 years ago
Reply to  Zaid

Other incrntives of sale weve found are that the device is also an anti theft device, including an anti theft chip. that makes it impossible to steal a vehicle even with the original key or hotwiring an engine. Finally, this is being rolled out withh governments and car companies, the end user is not the target. Be well

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  Zaid

Yea I’m so worried my car will be stolen in Qatar. Woohoo… as if the cars don’t already have anti theft. Plus the new cars have tracking system so you connect your car to your phone. Are you living in 19th century? or in Afghanistan?

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  Zaid

Wow thank you for enlightening me genius, You think I didn’t read what date was the video published on? Besides your sentence doesn’t make any sense what so ever, so I am guessing you are probably a sales man for this useless product to be so offended by my criticism. In that case you might want to look for another job that would be stable… Be well yourself lol.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago

Just Breaking – A new gadget that will reach out and slap the driver of a car that tailgates, bumps, or flashes the car in front of them. For a small fee, the app can be upgraded to replace the slapping mechanism with Manny Pacquiao who will leap from the dash and pummel the driver until they back off.

BillyBob
BillyBob
6 years ago
Reply to  Cerebus

Good try! Almost laughed.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago

Get the clinical unit of the HMC trauma center to release a readable report on Child Injury Trauma, add some nicely graphic reality pictures from actual crash sites. Send it to every household in the country with a child under 15. At least if the 20 to 30 somethings dont give a damn, maybe awareness to the parents of the under 15’s can at least save the lives of a few hundred of the next generation. The big car dealerships are not advocating child safety in any way of course, it’s a sellers market after all. Is it so hard to include a $150 car seat in a $100,000 SUV? Obviously it is. Let’s hope in a change for the future. Sadly, many more dead children with irresponsible parents on the roads here, will not be able to enjoy theirs.

Nada Ansari
Nada Ansari
6 years ago

This is GREAT! May be the best 550 qrs spent if it saves ur son’s life!!!

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago

A motoring journalist, in the UK, once wrote:

The best addition to road safety would be a six inch dagger protruding from the steering wheel hub.

I can’t quote that – maybe someone else can – but, think about it?

My Interview
My Interview
6 years ago

Interesting

Oracle
Oracle
6 years ago

Hmm. the article claims that he is “founder of Doha-based technology company Ajyaltek” but his website shows that Lifebelt (which he acquired from someone else) is his only product. What makes him a “technology company” then?

Emily
Emily
6 years ago

I think anything that encourages people to buckle up is a good thing. I don’t understand why you would place the seatbelt behind you since that seems like more work than just putting it on. Regardless of the device or not, I encourage everyone to wear a seatbelt properly, always buckle children in (and put younger children in car seats) and encourage others to wear seat belts as well. Maybe your example will be the one that saves someone’s life.

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