NU-Q and CMU-Q organize road safety campaign in Education City


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To raise awareness about road safety among students in Education City, Northwestern University in Qatar and Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar co-hosted a community event earlier this week, informing students about the potential risks of speeding and unsafe driving.

The event was organized because road accidents are becoming a more common risk among the Education City community, according to Michael McDonough, director of health, safety, security and environment at NU-Q.

“We have done our risk assessment of the credible risks for Northwestern University [students] and right at the top of the risks is road traffic accidents,” said McDonough. “It is important to focus on those high risks, instead of focusing on those that might not happen.”

He added that due to the ongoing construction and the increase of traffic in Education City because of the open-campus policy, there is a higher risk of road accidents in EC. Last year, a student from Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar died in a motorcycle accident on campus.

The road safety campaign was organized in collaboration with the Qatar National Safety Centre (QNSC) and included informational and multimedia booths about Qatar’s traffic laws, road accident statistics and information about obtaining a driving license. The event also included a presentation by the Head of Road Safety at QNSC, Ian Caygill, that students found engaging and humorous.

“What we need to do is present advanced driving techniques that are fun and enjoyable, and that’s why the presentation was in that format,” said Caygill, adding that road safety is often dealt as a very serious and dry issues thus fails to attract audience’s notice.

Not many students attended the otherwise well-planned event.

“We were expecting more students and it is disappointing,” said McDonough, “We don’t know if it’s because of how we sell the event or the location of the event, but we did expect a larger audience.”

This was the first time QNSC conducted a road safety campaign in Education City but it plans to organize similar events in collaboration with other campus universities, said Caygill.

According to McDonough, people under 25 are more likely to be involved in traffic accidents than others, but they also have the potential to reduce the risk.

“Quite visibly, there is a bad driving culture in Qatar. We have got lots of different nationalities in Qatar. Some come from countries with reasonable driving standards, some come from others, so we get a blend of non-standard [driving] system,” said McDonough, “It’s important that this generation starts to develop good driving habits so they can pass it on to the next.”



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