Posted on April 26, 2015

Everyone who drives in Qatar is aware of the dangers of distracted driving. We are all aware texting while driving is dangerous, and almost everyone understands that Qatar law says all passengers in the front seat of a car must wear seatbelts. People know these things and yet every day distracted driving causes at least 4 traffic accidents in Qatar. What does it take to make drivers put away their mobile phones and buckle up their seatbelts? A class of nursing students at the University of Calgary in Qatar (UCQ) enthusiastically took on the challenge of educating others to be safe on Qatar’s roads. 

An invitation from organizers of an event at CNAQ provided the opportunity for the members of one UCQ Community Nursing class to conduct some research of their own. Over a two-day period, UCQ students observed and surveyed vehicles coming and going from the CNAQ parking lot. On one day they found that out of a total of 1400 cars, only 500 drivers and passengers had their seatbelts done up, and 900 drivers carried at least one easy-to-reach mobile phone on the front seat. On the next day the numbers were slightly better, but not good enough.

UCQ students take the safe driving 2 [].jpgThe program created by the ten students--Ghalya Shahada, Samar Al-Shouli, Mohamed Ali, Mohamed Mustafa, Mona Mustafa, Shahad Saleh, Nada Jaber, Anas Usman, Yaser Al-Ajmi, and Sara Hakeem – combines statistics, social media, and common sense in a hard-hitting presentation that simulates the disastrous possible consequences of texting while driving. UCQ, its students, faculty and staff are committed to working within the community on heath and wellness issues that matter to its people. The purpose of this project on safe driving is to positively influence behaviour that can change people’s lives.

“We are not doing this to win a prize,” says nursing student Ghalya Shahada. “But if at least one life can be saved, that will be a great success.”