Muscat: While the number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads continues to drop, the use of mobile phones while driving has been identified as one of the main causes of accidents in Oman, according to a top official at the Royal Oman Police (ROP).
Brigadier Mohammed Al Rawas, Director General of the Traffic Department at the ROP said: “Using your mobile phone while driving is the main cause of road accidents in the country and across the world. In terms of accidents causing injuries and fatalities, speeding is the main cause”.
He added: “When a road accident occurs at low-speed, deaths and injuries are limited but when it occurs at high-speed, more serious injuries and fatalities are likely to take place.”
The brigadier was speaking on Traffic Safety Day when he was hosted by the weekly ROP radio show, Al Ayn Al Sahira, which was organised to raise awareness of the dangers of not observing traffic laws in the Sultanate.
According to data from the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), there were 6.598 million mobile phone subscribers in Oman at the end of September 2019, up from 6.44 million subscribers at the end of December 2018. Oman’s population on 22 October 2019 stood at 4,675,898, which means there are more mobile phone subscribers than people in the country, or about one and a half mobile phone subscriptions per person.
To further improve awareness of traffic safety and encourage solutions from the country’s people in terms of tackling traffic issues and spreading the understanding of traffic laws, Brigadier Al Rawas added that a traffic safety competition had been organised, which saw participation from various sectors of Omani society.
“Achieving successful traffic safety requires a package of measures and legislation to be implemented,” said the Director General of Traffic. “A number of Wilayats have built traffic schools for children, which is very important step to implant the principles of traffic safety for children.”
Al Rawas confirmed that road accidents had been on the decline since 2012, thanks to a package of measures and the introduction of new laws, including the improvement of roads and surroundings, spreading more awareness, and the development of new legislation. The number of accidents has reduced by 67 per cent, injuries by 33 per cent, and deaths by 52 per cent in recent years.
Al Rawas said: “Traffic accidents resulting from speed accounted for more than 70 per cent of the total accidents. Traffic safety awareness and motorists abiding by set speed limits led to the reduction in the number of accidents. Speed radars also contributed to the drop in number.”
On average, one road accident occurred every three hours on Oman’s roads in 2018, according to the National Centre for Statistics and Information. This reflects a 27 per cent decrease from the accident rate in 2017, when one road accident occurred every two hours. Some 2,802 accidents occurred on the Sultanate’s roads in 2018, down from 3,845 accidents in 2017. During the same period, the number of deaths on the road fell from 640 to 637 while injuries fell from 3,134 to 2,815.