Are you a safe driver? Do you fasten your seat belt while on the road, keep away from texting while driving or even answering your phone? If your answer is yes, you are on the right track! If not, beware and practice good habits while driving because your behavior can be detrimental not only to your life but also others.
According to the United Nations, more than 1.3 million people die in traffic accidents each year, along with upwards of 50 million injuries. Additionally, it’s estimated that traffic accidents cost $518 billion each year. And as per the World Health Organization‘s Global Status Report On Road Safety 2013, the highest number of deaths as a result of road accidents in Qatar is that of drivers of 4-wheel cars and light vehicles (36%). The second category is pedestrians (32%) followed by passengers of 4-wheel drive cars and light vehicles. Not surprisingly, road traffic safety is a shared concern across the world not just for public health – especially for injury and death prevention.
Countries and organizations have been working towards better road safety through technology and legislation. International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is one such organization which has been leading worldwide efforts in developing ICT standards for intelligent transport systems and driver safety. The emphasis is on use of technology to avoid accidents and eliminating unsafe technology-related distractions while driving.
This year, ITU’s annual event – World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) – focused on the theme: “ICTs and improving road safety”. ITU worked with all its stakeholders including policy makers, regulators, operators and the industry to take steps to further the use of ICTs to improve road safety, taking into account the risks associated with the unreasonable use of ICTs and driver distraction, as well as the benefits of ICTs and vehicular safety technologies, in order to improve global road safety.
Many countries and organizations took part in the initiative including Arab nations. The Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR) partnered up with the Qatar Mobility Innovations Center (QMIC) to address the benefits and challenges of ICTs with road safety in Qatar. As part of its WTISD activities, ictQATAR installed the QMIC-developed Masarak driver performance devices in 10 of its employees’ vehicles. Masarak System ranks drivers performance based on their speed, acceleration and de-acceleration levels. The goal is to highlight driver safety performance and encourage safer driving habits through the use of real-time information.
In Oman, authorities organized an exhibition to create awareness about the appropriate use of new technologies to secure lives. A seminar on “Smart Road Technologies” was also organized in Oman calling for sustainable, safe, and smart road networks in the Sultanate.
In Nigeria, the authorities organized the eWorld Forum to celebrate WTISD on the theme: ‘Imperative for a Truly Digital Citizen: ICTs and Improving Road Safety’. The forum highlighted the importance of technology tools in improving road safety among Nigerians.
Globally, the risks related to road safety are increasingly being recognized and authorities are making efforts to ensure limiting these risks. What are you doing to making yourself, your loved ones and others safe while you are on the road? Practicing road safety tips from the list below, will help you stay say on the road.
- Don’t use mobile phones while driving: Making or receiving a call, even with ‘hands free’, can be distractive and could lead to an accident.
- While in the car, belt up (even in the back): In a collision, an unbelted rear passenger can kill or seriously injure the driver or a front seat passenger.
- Don’t drink and drive: Alcohol, even a small amount, can impair your driving.
- Slow down: Slowing down considerably reduces the risk of you accidentally knocking a pedestrian.
- Take precaution when around children: Children are of course impulsive, take extra caution near or outside schools, or in compounds or places where children might be around.
- Rest and re-energize: Driving when you are tired is not safe. On a long drive, stop for at least a 15 minute break every 2 hours.
- Pedestrians: If you see a pedestrian at a marked crossing, stop and let them cross the road. If you are pedestrian, walk safely and always use a pedestrian crossing if there is one nearby.
- Rearview mirrors: Observe and anticipate other road users and use your mirrors regularly.
- Use child seats for young children: Child and baby seats should be fitted properly and checked every trip.
- Keep your distance: Always keep a five to two second gap between you and the car in front.