LAU commits to advance safe driving
Events on and off campus aim at raising students’ awareness on road safety and demonstrating the dire effects of car accidents.
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Just last year, 10,630 car accidents occurred in Lebanon — around 1,000 more than in 2007, according to the website of Kunhadi, an association for youth awareness on road safety.
As a show of its concern to this alarming issue, LAU hosted different events, on and off campus, in the past couple of months.
Rescue operation demo on campus
Two Lebanese Red Cross ambulances with five-member crew each, 18 Civil Defense officers and representatives of the Internal Security Forces staged a live demo on LAU’s Byblos campus on May 5 illustrating how to rescue an alleged car crash victim.
The purpose of this Traffic Awareness Campaign was not only to prevent accidents but also show students how to act when an accident does occur, says Joseph Kanaan, program coordinator at LAU’s Guidance Office in Byblos.
“Perhaps the students were shocked while watching [the demo] but then speeded again on their way [home]. Still, such events, when repeated, will surely deliver the message and turn to be effective,” Kanaan adds.
During the campaign, LAU students also rode a “seatbelt convincer,” a car simulator that bumps at a speed of 11 km per hour and demonstrates the effectiveness of seatbelts. “It shows you how painful an accident is without a seatbelt,” explains Kanaan.
The “seatbelt convincer” was provided by Kunhadi, an organization created in memory of Hady Gebrane, an LAU student that passed away in a car accident in April 2006.
Touring Lebanon safely
The ability of LAU students to drive safely was put to the test at a rally paper held on May 17.
Divided into 17 teams of four, the students gathered near the Byblos campus at 9:00 a.m. and had to drive through Keserwan, Metn, Bekaa and Beirut by keeping their seatbelts fastened and without exceeding a specific speed limit.
The race was about safety — not speed. To win, teams had to answer questions about road safety correctly and gather specific material along the way. Four controllers closely followed them in cars and any violation caused the team’s dismissal.
Eleven teams made it to the end and enjoyed dinner at Orientis restaurant, Antelias, where the top team received $1,000 and all participants got Swatch watches.
The rally paper was organized by the LAU Discovery Club in Byblos, in collaboration with Kunhadi.
And more campus initiatives
An on-campus rally paper, under the slogan “LAU Rallies for Road Safety,” was held three weeks earlier on LAU’s Beirut campus, organized by the Guidance Office in collaboration with the Lebanese Red Cross and Kunhadi.
LAU students went around campus carrying colorful plastic pieces in the form of cars, using campus driving licenses.
Students had to answer road safety questions at 10 stops, following road signs erected on campus and lanes drawn on the ground.
The Music Club’s performance added a joyful atmosphere to the event while muffins, cotton candy, popcorn and refreshments were offered to participants.
Earlier this year, various activities addressing road safety were held on LAU’s Byblos campus.
In February, educational posters were hung in the buildings next to the dorms and near the Science Building. Also, rules against double-parking were introduced on the Byblos campus, and the Byblos Guidance Office, in coordination with the student governing body, started providing daylong shuttles to transport students from the lower parking to the lower gate.
“We plan to do more frequent events in the future that target road safety as well as other health and societal issues as we are looking forward to helping our students achieve their full potential as productive citizens,” says Joceline Karkour, registered nurse at the Guidance Office–Beirut.
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