Muscat: Digital signs reacting to speed with a happy or sad face have been popping up around Muscat, in an attempt to curb speeding.
The Royal Oman Police (ROP) said the Muscat Municipality is responsible for putting up these digital sign boards, which alert drivers to slow down in residential areas.
“I think it’s good. Because when I notice it, I try to stay under the speed limit so I can get a smiley face, because it makes me happy,” one driver, who lives on Rex Road, said.
Indian expat, Ravi, who lives in Ruwi, said, “They’ve been put in place to assist in providing a safer road network as some accidents were reported in the interior roads. The purpose of the signs will serve as a reminder to slow down.”
Amal Balushi has lived in the PDO area for around two years and doesn’t feel like it has made much of an impact.
“I actually think it has gotten worse and made a bad difference. People are challenging the signs and speeding to keep it ‘sad.’ I have seen Snapchat videos of this, especially among the younger crowd.
“On the other hand, I think it helps teach children that speeding is bad and following the speed limit is good. So I think it’s a nice idea in that aspect,” Balushi said.
One driver stated that she intentionally tries to turn the happy face into a sad one. “I find screens annoying and not very pretty to look at. They are a waste and nobody should be paying attention to screens while driving.”
“They don’t pay attention to their speedometer in their car so why would they to a happy/sad face in the streets?” she added.
Ahmed Lawati suggested a mock sign suggesting a speed trap would be more efficient. “A sign that says speed trap ahead would make more people slow down. If they increase the fine to OMR60, people will definitely slow down. They will think 60 times before speeding,” Lawati said.
“There should be a campaign to educate people that the police aren’t trying to make money out of fines, but it’s an effort to make slow people down. The ‘slow down, speed trap ahead’ sign would be more efficient than the smiley sign,” he added.