DOHA: Qatar yesterday launched a new mobile phone application that can make the country’s roads safer by blocking a motorist’s phone call or message while driving.
Using mobile phone while driving is the cause of more than 80 percent of accidents in Qatar, according to data provided by the Traffic Department.
The app, Salamtek, is downloadable from Google App store. Dubbed a first in the region, the app is available for Android devices in Arabic and English.
It was developed by the Qatar Mobility Innovations Centre (QMIC), in partnership with the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP) and the Traffic Department.
Once activated on the driver’s cellphone, it automatically senses vehicle speed and blocks any calls, messages, any use of the mobile phone except emergency calls. The app can distinguish between drivers and passengers.
Speaking at the launch event, QMIC Chairman Abdulla Al Talib said: “Distracted driving is a problemwhich we need to control and reduce. Delivering locally-built innovative solutions in support of driver anti-distraction is an important milestone towards achieving safer driving in Qatar.”
The key feature of the app is it changes the cell phone’s response to a call if the vehicle is moving above 20kmph, Qatar News Agency quoted QMIC Mobile Development official Khalil Aboudi as saying.
Callers receive an auto reply message if they call a Salamtek-activated phone, he said.
“The app monitors a vehicle’s speed. It does not track a user and data is confidential.”
There are three versions of the app – Salamtek Personal, Enterprise, mainly for businesses like taxi fleets, and for Family.
Ooredoo, Qatar Insurance Company (QIC), and Road Safety Studies Center (RSSC) of Qatar University were also partners in developing the project