By Sara Khalil
Mai Tarek, a communication media arts senior, knows that the way from her home where she lives in Heliopolis to the university is not that safe. “I see an accident almost everyday and a couple of days ago I saw a car upside down and a guy lying on the ground bleeding,” she said.
But that doesn’t keep her from driving fast and taking the 40 minute trip in less than half an hour. “Driving near the campus does not worry me. I only get scared when I see these accidents,” she said.
Reckless driving and increasing accidents on the Ring-Road leading to The American University in Cairo’s Kattameya campus have prompted student groups to launch an awareness campaign teaching students how to get to and from school safely.
Working with the Student Union’s Awareness and Development Committee, The Right Road club is giving first-aid sessions to students and distributing road safety manuals around campus.
According to Sandy Saied, a mass communications sophomore and the club’s vice president, the club is also trying to raise awareness about the recently approved road safety law in Egypt.
The law, enacted in August, imposes heavier penalties, including fines and jail sentences, for breaking previously ignored traffic regulatins such as driving without a seatbelt and driving while holding a cell-phone.
The club printed pocket-size illustrated guides outlining the penalty for breaking each traffic regulation.
“I am afraid to drive on this road and even my parents are not ok with it, so I go to the university by the bus service and our driver drives me back home,” said Nadine Kotry, a junior. “I think [The Right Road] will be very effective because students need such advice.”
However, other students don’t think the club can do much to change the way people drive.
Ann Amir, a business senior who is putting off her driving test as long as she can because of road hazards, thinks the club’s success cannot exceed more than 20 percent.
“People who care about road regulations will be following them anyway and people who do not care and do not follow them, will never listen and will just drive carelessly; they will never go and look for advice about how they should drive.”
The Right Road was formed two years ago in response to the deaths of several AUC students in separate road accidents. Six thousand people die on the road in Egypt every year and more than 30,000 are injured.