Muscat: Drivers are being encouraged to use hands-free and Bluetooth devices following the announcement of the new Traffic Law, which includes a hefty fine for those caught using their phones while driving.
Confusion is prevailing among some people in Oman as to whether one would be fined for just talking on the phone while driving or even when using hands-free devices.
Article 49 of the Traffic Law clearly states that imprisonment for a period up to 10 days or a fine of up to OMR300 shall be awarded to those, who use their hands to carry the phone or any electronic device while driving.
Using a hands-free and Bluetooth device for phone calls while driving is considered perfectly legal around the world.
Mark Pudwell, business development manager at Competence HR and a fire and safety expert, said a high number of vehicles in this day and age are equipped with built in Bluetooth systems and almost everyone has access to them.
“The best advice to drivers is not to use a mobile phone at all whilst driving and if they do need to make an urgent call, they should pull over in a safe place and make the call; however the law now says that you may talk on the phone using Bluetooth, which road users should use if required,” said Pudwell.
Set up the system
“If users don’t know how to synchronise their cars with their phones, they should go to the dealerships that will set up the system for them,” he added.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Distracted Driving Global Fact Sheet states that “Distracted drivers are about four times as likely to be involved in crashes as those who are focused on driving. Drivers, who are texting, are more than 20 times more likely to crash than non-distracted drivers.”
The fact sheet also stated that “By 2030, road traffic injuries are projected to be the fifth leading cause of death worldwide, surpassing HIV/AIDS, all forms of cancer, violence, and diabetes.”