Posted on May 07, 2016

Hundreds of teenagers at independent schools and driving academies have gained valuable tips about road safety in the lead up to Ramadan, thanks to a programme delivered by Maersk Oil Qatar in partnership with the General Directorate of Traffic at the Ministry of the Interior. Students for Road Safety (SFRS) aims to turn 12 to 18 years olds into road safety advocates through a mix of in-classroom lectures and practical experience in a road safety simulator.

Last month, the programme visited Al Hasba Driving School, Mosaab bin Omar Independent School and Abu Baker Asideeq preparatory Independent School, where a total of 125 people gained one to one assistance to improve their approach to road safety. The Students for Road Safety awareness activities were scheduled in Ramadan due to the sharp increase in road accidents in Qatar during the holy month. With the aim of targeting young drivers, the SFRS programme trained more than 100 new drivers this month while stationed at Al Hasba Driving School, over the course of a week. Many of the new drivers, including several working in the oil industry, received one-to-one training from internationally accredited driving instructors in the state of the art SFRS driving simulator.

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The Director of Qatar’s Traffic Department, Brigadier Mohammed Saad Al Kharji, said: “Through our strong partnership with Maersk Oil Qatar, we have taken major strides towards achieving Qatar’s National Road Safety Strategy that aims to make our roads safer. We would like to thank Maersk Oil Qatar for their continued efforts and support to seed behaviour change at a grassroots level in the country.” Through their joint SFRS programme, which falls under the national One Second road safety brand, both organisations aim to transform 12 to 18 year old students into road safety ambassadors through interactive presentations and driving simulator training in schools and at community events.

Lewis Affleck, Managing Director of Maersk Oil Qatar, said: “As part of our continued commitment to support the Qatar National Vision 2030, we aim to bring meaningful benefits to the State of Qatar and its people. Our Students for Road Safety programme is a fantastic example of our commitment to change behaviour at a grassroots level by encouraging young people to be road safety ambassadors through interactive presentations and driving simulator. I’m pleased to see such positive engagement - this month alone over than 500 people were educated in safe driving practices. We are looking forward to targeting more students in their schools and through community events alongside our partner, the General Directorate of Traffic.”

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The driving simulator used in the SFRS programme features cutting-edge technology originally deployed in the Formula 1 and aviation industries, including a full real car cockpit, and an advanced display system with a wrap around screen. A custom-made traffic artificial intelligence engine reflects common behaviours on Qatar’s roads like tail-gating, failure to indicate, flashing lights and cutting across cars at roundabouts.