Kunhadi celebrated its ninth anniversary on November 4, 2015 at Hazmieh Municipality, in the presence of a number of political and social figures, the media and Mr. and Miss Lebanon.
Kunhadi celebrated its ninth anniversary with the launch of the first Taxi Academy in Lebanon.
The celebration was held in the Municaplity of Hazmieh, in the presence of political and media figures, in addition to Mr. and Miss Lebanon 2015 who joined in support of the organization and the cause of road safety in Lebanon.
Kunhadi lawyer esq. Mark Habka commended Kunhadi on the relentless effort to spread road safety awareness for the past nine years through
campaigns and events based on the Lebanese Traffic Law, the previous formerly and the new currently.
Ms. Marie Claude Hajjar, M&C Saatchi representative
and Kunhadi’s Account Director, recounted the agency and Kunhadi’s long-standing partnership whereby M&C Saatchi was Kunhadi’s voice that transmitted its road safety messages all the way to people’s subconscious
and changed the widespread passive Lebanese driving culture that blamed roads and laws for the chaos, to a better understanding of road user behavior and responsibility. The agency helped Kunhadi offer youngsters an alternative to drunk driving through the Taxi Night party with the slogan “Drink moderately and take a taxi back home”.
Kunhadi president, Mr. Fady Gebrane, began his speech by reminding the audience that according to the World Health Organization (WHO) 1,5 Million people die yearly due to traffic crashes that are currently the number one cause of death of young people aged between 15 and 29 years worldwide, and unless serious action is taken, the toll of victims worldwide will rise to 1,9 million yearly.
In Lebanon, the second cause of fatal crashes is driving under the influence of alcohol. Accordingly, Kunhadi launched the “Taxi Night” initiative back in 2007, which is a party where all guests arrive and leave the party venue by two-way Taxis offered for free by Kunhadi. Eight years later, the culture of taking a Taxi after a night out is diffused among the Lebanese community, however, Kunhadi still receives complaints about taxi drivers ‘driving habits.
So, this year, the road safety organization decided on launching a Taxi Academy to train Taxi drivers on the New Traffic Law, defensive driving (anticipating dangerous situations and preventing collisions), first aid and professional customer service with a special focus on difficult customers.
The objective of the project is to improve the quality of the Taxi service and reinforce the community’s trust in it by making it a truly reliable alternative to driving.
Kunhadi’s trainers already received three trainings from international road safety trainers specialized in Taxi in addition to first-aid training by the Red Cross.
Mr. Gebrane proceeded to list Kunhadi’s main achievements for 2015 that included:
1- Acting on behalf of the Lebanese government to protect the safety of pedestrians by installing safe crossings in front of schools (two safe crossings this year and thirteen in total since 2011), to provide students with a safe point to cross the road, despite the absence or the slacking of support from government officials to approve these projects.
2- Starting a pioneer project entitled “Target Zero” in Maghdoushe (South of Lebanon) that aims to reduce traffic fatalities to 0.Kunhadi is installing solar-powered street lights, safe crossings with speed bumps to secure a point on the road where pedestrians can cross the road safety, retro-reflecting markings and road signs, road markings. Maghdoushe Municipality, who is collaborating with Kunhadi on this project, stationed a fully equipped ambulance close to the town center, and over 12 volunteers will always be available to assist any traffic potential victim.
3- Regularly participating in international campaigns seminars, latest of which was the Club Health 2015 held in Portugal on the most successful practices around the world to enhance the safety of nightlife and the global campaign launched by the United Nations under the title #SaveKidsLives that aims to bring road safety demands of children to the attention of local and global leaders. That in addition to 150 road safety conferences Kunhadi hosted around Lebanon, reaching over 14,000 people during 2015 alone.
4- Receiving the “Highly Commended” certificate during Fleet Safety Awards 2015 – Brake Charity (UK) for the ‘Taxi Night’ initiative that raises awareness against drunk driving. Kunhadi was the only organization based in Middle East and North Africa that was nominated for this award, competing against international companies listed in New York and/or London stock markets.
5- Presenting short 15-minutes sketches on TV explaining the New Traffic Law
Kunhadi stresses that the New Traffic Law cannot be correctly implemented before the National Council for Road Safety is fully activated.
The road safety organization also refers to the Months of April and May 2015 when the speed law was very strictly implemented and lead to a 70% of traffic crashes, over 60% decrease of injuries and 40% of traffic fatalities, to remind the audience that by only respecting the speed limits, we could achieve a dramatic change on our roads.