Posted on September 09, 2015

As part of its continued efforts to encourage positive road behaviours in Qatar, the Students for Road Safety initiative teamed up with General Directorate of Traffic to hold a unique event at the Gulf Driving School, one of the biggest driving school’s in Qatar, last week. The event targeted beginner drivers prior to receiving their licenses with one-to-one coaching in a state-of-the-art driving simulator.

The Students for Road Safety initiative was launched in December 2013 by programme owners Maersk Oil Qatar and the General Directorate of Traffic, within the Ministry of Interior, as part of the national One Second road safety brand.The programme seeks to transform 12 to 18 year olds into road safety ambassadors through interactive presentations and the use of the only one-of-its-kind simulator in the Gulf region to practice safe driving habits.

The eight-day campaign with the Gulf Driving School included in-depth training sessions for more than 150 young drivers. The sessions featured an assembly presentation by Lieutenant Fahed Al Abullah from the General Directorate of Traffic, in which he stressed the burden of responsibility that falls on driving instructors to teach learner drivers to protect not only their safety but those of all families in Qatar.One-on-one comprehensive sessions in the driving simulator with specialised instructors from the Students for Road Safety initiative has really helped the students become better drivers and also showed participants how quickly road conditions can change, emphasising the need to always be aware.

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Lieutenant Fahad Mubarak Al Abdulla from General Directorate of Traffic, Ministry of Interior Qatar said, “We are committed to encouraging positive behaviours on Qatar’s roads to help avoid traffic accidents. I commend Students for Road Safety and the Gulf Driving School for working together to support our efforts, particularly with beginner drivers. This collaboration is the latest of many successful Students for Road Safety campaigns we have backed and we look forward to building this partnership even further in the coming months and years.”

Sheikh Faisal bin Fahad Al-Thani, Deputy Managing Director, Maersk Oil Qatar, said: “This initiative is further evidence of the success and importance of the Student for Road Safety programme in improving driving conditions in Qatar, as we raise awareness and introduce safe driving behaviours among young drivers. At Maersk Oil Qatar, we are committed to supporting programmes that bring tangible and lasting benefits to the country and the Students for Road Safety initiative is one of the most concrete examples of our work.”

The Students for Road Safety driving simulator is one of the most advanced of its kind in the Gulf region and includes a full real car cockpit, an advanced display system with wrap around screen and an artificial intelligence engine that reflects common behaviours on Qatar’s roads, including tail-gating, failure to indicate, flashing lights and cutting across cars at round-abouts. Mohammad Ali Al Zain , Manager Gulf Driving School said: “This programme allowed our new drivers a unique opportunity to learn from experiencing some of the most dangerous road behaviours in a safe environment through the use of the state-of-the-art simulator. We hope that this opportunity will instill correct driving behaviours in our young drivers from the start and ultimately decrease the number of accidents in Qatar.” 

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One of the young learner drivers who completed a number of training sessions in the simulator said: “The Students for Road Safety simulator is amazing and has really helped me experience road behaviours like they actually are in Qatar before I gain my driver’s license. The instructor helped me address any negative behaviours and gave me useful tips, for example controlling the steering wheel with both hands using the ‘push-pull method’. I found the whole experience hugely beneficial as I was learning ways of keeping my vehicle under control and safe at all times.”

In the past two years, 4,500 students and young drivers have taken part in the Students for Road Safety programme.During Ramadan 2015 alone, more than 1,000 youth benefited from the Students for Road Safety simulator while it was positioned in SouqWaqif. Participants, 75% of whom were teenagers and young drivers between the ages of 12 and 25with 38% being Qatari, drove the simulator and learned how to keep safe on Qatar’s roads.