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YASA International and Saudi Arabian Engineers seek to raise road safety awareness

YASA International and Saudi Arabian Engineers seek to raise road safety awareness-Sin El Fil-Lebanon

In an attempt to spread greater awareness of road safety in the Arab world and bring the various regional parties concerned with such issues closer, the first International Workshop on Traffic Law Enforcement, Traffic Engineering and Traffic Safety kicked off at the Habtour Grand Hotel in Sin al-Fil- Lebanon

Jointly organized by the Federation of Saudi Arabian Engineers, the Youth Association for Social Awareness (YASA) International, LASSA, LASIP and the Scientific Research Foundation (SRF), the workshop aims at increasing cooperation between various traffic safety actors in the Middle East region.

"Such endeavors would definitely help us limit the tragic number of traffic accidents in the Arab world," said Mona Akl, head of YASA Lebanon.

According to SRF's recent statistics, such accidents caused over 1,035,000 casualties - both injuries and deaths - in the Arab world last year.

Operating under the auspices of the Public Works and Transportation Ministry, the International Workshop on Traffic Law Enforcement, Traffic Engineering and Traffic Safety will span a period of five days, and encompass a series of workshops on traffic control and management as well as the importance of national and international cooperation in managing and preventing road accidents.

"The Lebanese government is working as hard as it can to improve traffic safety in Lebanon," said director general of the Internal Security Forces Major General Achraf Rifi.

Heading a delegation of ISF officials, Rifi said: "Traffic safety was the ISF's primary concern" and that, throughout the years, "ISF members had sought to instruct drivers on traffic laws and safety."

"Our members work in very difficult conditions, especially in summer and winter time, not to mention the hygienic and health problems they are exposed to daily due to car pollution," Rifi said.

"We are also working on improving the road conditions as well as traffic lights and signals, in addition to activating speed radars and alcohol testing," Rifi said.

"Currently, 300 traffic expert volunteers are in the process of joining our team," Rifi said, "They (the volunteers) will be positioned on road intersections in the hope of trying to improve and organize the flow of traffic."

Rifi also said ISF officers routinely visit public and private schools to give lectures about road safety.

According to Rune Peterson, head of the Traffic Police Department at the Swedish National Police Academy in Stockholm, the war was one of the major reasons for Lebanon's current "chaotic state" of road safety.

"Yet I firmly believe this country has every potential to get out of this crisis and become an example of road discipline," Peterson said, "All it takes is some patience and the strict enforcement of traffic laws."

Meanwhile, later in the day, the Public Works and Transportation Ministry designated a follow-up committee to work on the implementation of a new traffic law.

"The increase in the number of vehicles from 55,000 in 1960 to over 1,250,000 in 2009 has definitely led to an increase in the number of road accidents because of a lack of road organization," said Beirut MP and head of the Parliamentary Committee for Public Works and Transportation Mohammad Qabbani.

The new traffic legislation will be built around a database system, keeping a record of each driver.

"Each time a driver violates the law, a certain number of black points will be added to his record," Qabbani said, "When a total of 20 points is reached the driver's license will be confiscated."

Lebanon , Traffic Safety

Date: 11/1/2010 9:23:48 AM

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