The 25th GCC Traffic Week got off to a lively start yesterday with the Director of Public Security, Major-General Saad bin Jassim Al Khulaifi, launching a wide-range of activities.
The annual event is being held across the GCC countries under the theme, “Don’t call until you arrive”, with the aim of generating public awareness about safe driving, particularly the risk of using mobile phones behind the wheel.
The five-day event is being held near the Civil Defence Department in Al Rumaillah and it includes lectures on road accidents and ways of avoiding them.
The Internal Security Forces (Lekhwiya), Criminal Investigation Department and various departments under the Ministry of Interior (MoI) held military shows as part of the event. A team from the security forces demonstrated skills to counter terrorist attacks, prevent drug trafficking and catch criminals.
An operetta show was staged by school students to add colour to the opening ceremony. At the end of the operetta, a mascot called Al Nasseh, who will advise the general public on road safety, was unveiled. The mascot — a policeman wearing the traditional Qatari attire — has been created by the Traffic Department.
The director of public security, along with delegations from the interior ministries of GCC member states and officials from various departments of the Ministry of Interior, toured an exhibition that is being held on the sidelines of the event.
Several ministries, security departments, and the private sector have set up pavilions to showcase their services and activities to visitors.
The exhibition includes a pavilion displaying vintage cars, including a 1946 model Chevrolet and American, German and British vintage brands from the 40s and 60s. Several cars damaged as a result of fatal accidents were also displayed at the exhibition ground to create public awareness about the dangers of reckless driving.
Brigadier Mohamed Saad Al Kharji, Director of the Traffic and Patrols Department, said the use of mobile phones while driving posed a big risk for both motorists and other road users. “A road accident requires only a fraction of a second to happen. Speaking on phone makes a motorist lose concentration, eventually causing an accident,” he said.
Entertainment programmes for children and families will be held as part of the Traffic Week. Apart from that, ideal veteran drivers will be honoured in a special ceremony.
A forum on road safety will be held on March 17. The forum will be moderated by journalist Ilham Bader and speakers from the Qatar and abroad will address it.
The first GCC Traffic Week was launched in 1974 with the theme: Use safety belt.
Other themes, such as Speed Limit, Land Traffic Signals, Keep Your Concentration on the Road, and Ensure the Well-being of Your Car, have been used in subsequent traffic week programmes.
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