Muscat: Accident rates in 2016 have dropped compared to 2015, however, the death rate has increased, especially among expat drivers, according to data from the National Center for Statistics and Information.
Compared to 6,279 accidents in 2015, the year 2016 witnessed 4,219 traffic accidents, reflecting a drop of 32.8 per cent.
However, compared to 675 people who lost their life in road accidents in 2015, 692 died in such incidents in 2016.
However, the number of those injured fell by 19.2 per cent, from 3,624 in 2015 to 2,929 in 2016.
Daryl Hardy, the CEO of Safety First, said the hard work of the Royal Oman Police contributed in a major way to bringing down the rate of accidents.
“The ROP made all efforts to implement the law. It ensured that its personnel were available whenever needed, a factor that surely contributed towards bringing down the number of accidents,” said Hardy. “People are also now more aware about the dangers of bad driving,” he added.
Ali Al Barwani, the Chairman of the Oman Road Safety Association (ORSA), attributed the lower rate of accidents to people being more aware about road safety as a result of the efforts of volunteers, the ROP and several safety teams.
“While the efforts by the ROP, the media and the volunteers of the ROP helped, better roads and addition of new roads were also factors that contributed,” added Al Barwani.
He said the new roads, such as the Sharqiyah Road and the Batinah Road, will help reduce congestion and bring down accidents.
“Traffic rules are now stricter, though these have to be implemented properly. The ROP is now equipped with more advanced equipment and speed traps. This has made people wary of being fined or face other punitive measures if they drive carelessly,” he added.
A total of 692 deaths occurred in 2016, compared to 675 in 2015, a 2.5 per cent increase. In case of expatriates, the fatality rate rose by 16.1 per cent as 252 died in 2016, compared to 217 in 2015.
On the other hand, the number of Omanis dying in such accidents fell by 3.9 per cent, as 440 nationals died in 2016, compared to 458 the year before.
When asked why death rate increased in case of expatriates, Al Barwani explained that expatriates comprise almost 50 per cent of the Sultanate’s population.
“Most of them are new to the country and do not speak English. Since most of the safety awareness campaigns have been in Arabic, these do not cater to the expats,” he said.
“Besides, it is also possible that they are not used to Oman’s driving system. New expats need to undergo an induction programme on their arrival in Oman , including driving in Oman. Awareness campaigns should be carried out in languages other than Arabic to raise awareness among all the people, not just Arabic speakers,” explained Al Barwani.