Seminar on safe usage of mobile phones [Archives:2004/751/Community]

July 1 2004

Mr. Abdulsallam Al-Dally, President of the Addali Center for Development, in his speech at the conclusion of the seminar on mobile phones organized by the centre at Technology City in Sana'a on June 23, highlighted the potential dangers of mobile phone usage.
Mr. Al-Dally said that the high average time spent on a single call was 15 minutes and 66% of those included in the survey did not talk for more than an hour a day. Only 4% of them exceeded 3 hours of conversation time on mobile phones. The survey showed that 25% of taxi drivers with mobiles encountered hazards while talking on mobile phones, such as being obliged to make an emergency stop, a light collision, passing red lights or driving of the road.
Mr. Al-Dally said that in the survey conducted by the center many of the negative social, cultural and health effects associated with the use of mobile phones were due to lack of knowledge of the safe use of mobile phones, which led the center to conduct this survey to examine the behavior of mobile users and to highlight the safe practices for the use of mobile phones.
Dr. Talah Haider, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Sana'a University, chaired the session on the radiation and medical aspects of mobile phones. Dr. Saad Al-Khair, Director of Labs at the National Atomic Energy Centre pointed out in his working paper that low energy and long wave radiation, similar to mobile phone radiation, is harmless.
Dr. Hussein Al-Joshae, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Science and Technology pointed out that the objective of many research papers and studies on mobile phones was to enhance the use of mobile phones.
During the second session, chaired by Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Tarb, Administration Development Expert, and Dr. Al-Dally, the first working paper was presented by the Police Traffic Department. It dealt with the restrictions on the use of mobile phones by taxi drivers. Col. Mohamed Al-Ghadra, Chief of Police, reviewed the distractions to the driver when dialing or answering a phone call. Answering a call could take several minutes, whilst a traffic accident would only need seconds. The lack of any binding legislations in Yemeni law until now is behind the absence of restrictions on this behavior.
A second paper, presented by Mr. Adel Yasser, Director of Development at SpaceTel Company, the sponsoring company of the seminar, dealt with mobile telephone technologies and the company's policy and duty to serve society better.
Mr. Waleed Akawe, representative of SpaceTel, confirmed that the company is sponsoring the seminar as part of the company's efforts to inform and update consumers on relevant issues and to follow up recent studies on the safe use of mobile phones and the possible side effects.
The seminar reached the following conclusions and recommendations:
1- Participants praised the Ministry of Telecommunication for sponsoring such seminars for the benefit of mobile phones customers.
2- The participants also commended Space Tel for its activities and support for scientific research.
3- The participants confirmed the importance of avoiding making phone calls while driving, near medical equipment, fuel stations and at in enclosed areas.
4- The seminar confirmed that there is not until now any convincing scientific evidence of health risks from using mobile phones or from living near base stations, as they comply with the relevant international regulations and specifications.
5- The seminar confirmed rights of the users to know any new information in relation to any issue of concern to them.
6- The seminar recommended the intensification of awareness campaigns through the various media organizations on the proper and safe use of mobile phones.
7- The participants suggested that Ministry of the Interior ought to prepare legislation that would declare talking while driving a traffic offence to be implemented after the Ministry launches an awareness campaign.
8- The participants confirmed the importance of mobile phones as a technology that would contribute to increasing the skills and abilities of society and in developing work practices.
9- The participants urge all drivers to avoid making phone calls while driving for their safety and the safety of others.