Beirut, August 20, 2014-Under the auspices ofHis Excellency theMinister of Telecommunications,Boutros Harb,represented byhis media adviserYoussef Howayek, Alfa, managed byOrascomTelecom, andKunhadi have launchedforthe second consecutive yearthe “Last Seen”road safety awareness campaignaimingto raise awareness ontraffic safetyandthe dangers of cell phone use and textingwhile driving.Apress conferenceto announce the launching of thecampaignwas heldatthe Press ClubinFurnel Chebbakand was attended bythe representative of the DirectorGeneral of theInternal Security Forces, Major General IbrahimBasbous;the head of the Public Relations DepartmentLieutenant ColonelJosephMusallem;therepresentative of theDirector General ofthe Traffic, Trucks and Vehicles Management AuthorityHodaSalloum, CaptainMichelMutran;Chairman and CEO ofAlfa,MarwanHayek;thepresident of Kunhadi,FadiGebran, andrepresentatives from civil society and audiovisual and printed media.
Thepress conference began withthe Lebanese national anthem, followed by a minute of silencefor the victims oftraffic accidentsin Lebanon.
In his speech, Kunhadi president FadiGebran thanked Howayekfor hostingthis conferenceto launch the“Last Seen” campaign,assuring“that the message will reach all the Lebanesefromthis platformwithoutthe use ofany cell phone”.He thanked“Alfa,managed byOrascomTelecom, which is the first and only supporterthatcontributed tothe achievement ofthis campaignandthe delivery of the awareness message to the largestnumberofLebanese people”. Gebran added: “I reiteratewhat I saidearlier about Alfa, whichas a telecom operator, usuallystrives for havingusers sending thelargestnumber ofmessagesormaking the largest number of phone calls, but it has opted for the bestdecision, which is to save lives”.
He then presenteda comparison betweenthe number oftraffic accidents per yearprovided by theinternal securityforces, showing adecrease in the numberof traffic accidentsbetween2012 and 2013from4,800to4,400accidents,of which about20%resulted from lack ofattention.
Gebran listedthe causes oftraffic accidents,which are due to the driverinmore than80% of the cases, for: exceedingthe maximum speed limit, driving underthe influence of alcohol, motorcyclists not using a helmet,drivingwhentired, lack ofseatbeltuse, and the use ofcell phoneswhen driving.
He alsodemonstrated therisk ofcell phoneusewhen drivingthrough alivetest,whichshowedthatit reduces thedriver’s abilityto focus ontwo thingsat the same time.
Moreover, Gebranexplained thedangers ofsending text messageswhile driving, pointing outthat if a car istraveling at50kilometers per hourandits driversendsa messagefor justone second, the car passesa distance of14 meterswithout the driverlooking at the road.
In the end, Gebran talked aboutthe alternatives to usingcell phoneswhen driving, saying:”do not send or readmessageswhen driving, do not make callswhen driving, and when usingaBluetoothheadset, only answer the phone for30to 45 seconds.”
Then the creative directoratM&C Saatchi,AlainHochar,explained thedetails ofthe ad campaign.
After that, Alfa Chairman and CEO, MarwanHayek, said in his speech: “Social mediarepresents an essential partofour daily lives. It hasgreatly affectedsocial relations, albeit negatively insome cases, but it is there whether we like itor not. Studies haveconfirmed the existence ofa direct correlationandcausalitybetweentraffic accidentsand the use ofWhatsApp and other messaging applications”.
Hayekadded that thissecond collaborationwithKunhadion a campaignis part “of our corporate social responsibilitytowards theLebanese societyandmobile users, which is based oncontinuityand aims tohighlightthe negative repercussions ofirresponsible useofmobile services”.
He pointedto the growingnumbersof data usageontheAlfa network, with 1,900,000Alfa subscriberscurrentlysendingan average offour millionSMSper day. He addedthat the volume of datausage has doubled sincethe beginning of theyear, and that WhatsAppis one of the mostpopularapplications, as it accounted for12% of data usage in July for example, compared to0.5% forFacebookandViber each.This confirms that phone users now depend mainly on their smartphones to communicate.
Hayek explained thatthe campaign’s title, “Last Seen”,is inspired byour everyday life and useofmessaging applications, particularly WhatsApp.He pointed out that“the campaign’s message isstrongand expressive”,and hoped “that the message will get throughandachieve its goal”.
In the end, he demanded the establishment of a rigorous traffic lawso that it would becomealegaldeterrentfordrivers, in the absence of amoraldeterrent.
Finally, therepresentative ofthe Minister ofTelecommunicationsBoutros Harb, his mediaadvisermr. Youssef Howayek,conveyed the minister’ssupportfor thisimportant initiative.
He praised thiscooperation between Alfa,which putssocial responsibilityat the heart ofits priorities, andKunhadi,which tookit upon itself toeducate young peopleontraffic safetyin order to reduceroad accidents, which kill hundreds of individualsevery yearin Lebanon –especiallyyoungpeople