BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces launched a pilot road-safety project Friday to begin monitoring and enforcing traffic laws on a stretch of the coastal highway.
The project, “We got together so that no road separates us,” will begin at the end of May and will involve collecting various types of traffic data on the stretch of highway between Jbeil and Antelias, where the highest number of accidents in the country are reported, according to figures provided by the Red Cross.
The action plan for the project says the ISF will start to enforce traffic laws related to speeding and drunk driving, which are penalized according to the new traffic law.
The ISF will also prepare a road-safety curriculum, raise awareness about the dangers of speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol, improve the delivery of first aid to accident victims and upgrade road-safety infrastructure.
The project brings together a number of ministries and organizations from the public and private sector as well as from civil society.
“It’s the first time all these groups have sat together at the same table,” the regional director of the Global Road Safety Partnership, Samar Abou Raad, said at a news conference at the ISF headquarters in Ashrafieh.
The Global Road Safety Partnership is overseeing the project, which is part of the EU-funded EuroMed Road Safety Program. Abou Raad added that the project would be supported over an extended period and “would not just stop after one week.”
Marcello Mori, head of infrastructure and local development for the EU’s delegation to Lebanon, said that road safety was linked to socioeconomic development and good governance.
The project has also designated roles various community components can play to emphasize safety.
The public sector has been asked to “act as a role model for the citizen ... pushing for continuous improvement in road safety,” among other responsibilities.
The private sector was tasked with helping by “sharing road safety good practices and initiatives” with family and friends and by “providing technical expertise to partners from different sectors.”
Civil society, on the other hand, should advocate “for change and improvement” in legislation by building campaigns based on scientific evidence, and by “offering constructive criticism.”
According to a press release for the event, recent studies concerning road safety in Lebanon have shown that the data collection process in the country “needs improvement in terms of accuracy and reliability,” something that influenced the ISF’s Advisory Board decision to implement the pilot project.