By Ayman Adly/Staff Reporter
The GCC specification for vehicles should include the installation of mobile phone jammers that would automatically make phone calls unavailable while the vehicle is moving, the Central Municipal Council (CMC) recommended yesterday.
A number of recommendations to address the issue of road accidents in Qatar were issued by the civic body at its regular session. The CMC observed that the use of mobile phones while driving accounts for a large number of accidents on the roads, in particular the fatal ones.
The council recommended that the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) should focus more on traffic safety requirement when designing and implementing road works. Also, an independent supervisory entity should follow up the operation and maintenance of these roads to ensure compliance with approved quality and safety standards.
The Traffic Department should play an active role in this, the CMC urged. Further, it should study the possibility of adopting a specialised satellite TV channel that telecast awareness programmes about traffic safety and address related issues such as enhancing the sense of social responsibility.
The Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP) should make sure that the designs and blueprints of highways should be compatible with approved traffic safety standards before being implemented by Ashghal.
Earlier, CMC Services and Utility Committee hosted a number of senior officials from the Traffic Department, MMUP and Ashghal.
Traffic Department officials Brigadier Mohamed Marefeah (director, Road Safety Engineering at the Ministry of Interior) and Sheikh Brigadier Abdulaziz bin Jassim al-Thani (director, Traffic Investigation and Patrolling Department), said there is a programme for road safety, covering 200 schools.
The CMC heard that the road networks in the country are evaluated through a star system, with the highest number of stars meaning the best compliance with road safety standards.
The officials explained that most lethal accidents could be attributed to the bad driving habits of motorists while those caused by bad roads could only account to 5-10% of the deaths in road accidents. Bad tyres and speeding are also among the main causes.
The council was told that the Traffic Department maintains a good presence on the main roads, intersections and highways to curb violations and maintain smooth flow of traffic, in particular at peak hours. There are currently 50 civilian traffic patrols regularly on the roads.
In 2014, the Traffic Department permanently cancelled more than 100 driving licences because of accidents, the CMC heard.