Muscat: Oman’s State Council has decided to form a committee aimed at reducing the number of children who die from road accidents, as the country looks to make its roads safer for motorists and pedestrians alike.
The Majlis A’Dawla, sitting at the third ordinary meeting of its fourth annual session, saw Dr Hamad bin Sulaiman Al Salami, the Chairman of the Social Committee, deliver a speech in which he said a study on why children were not being protected enough from accidents was being conducted to understand the reasons behind this.
He added that the causes of road deaths concerning children could be economic, social and/or psychological, with accidents actually being the leading cause of death among children between the ages of five and 15. Two of the other leading causes of death among children of that age were emergency health situations and physical and mental disabilities, he said.
Al Salami added that the committee sought to achieve a number of objectives through the study, including monitoring the reality of child accidents in the Sultanate, reviewing the legislations related to the safety and security of children and the role of bodies concerned in this framework, in addition to highlighting the challenges facing existing efforts to curtail this issue and submitting proposals and recommendations to address those challenges in order to better protect children from accidents in the Sultanate.
The Committee concluded with a number of general recommendations, including the development of a national strategy for the protection of children from accident injuries with a clear implementation plan, the strengthening of the role of the National Commission for Family Affairs in the area of child protection against accidents, and the establishment of an integrated system to monitor child injury with regard to the protection of children from accidents.
The Committee also called for the speedy enactment of the executive regulations of the Children’s Law, the modernisation of the building and construction legislation to take account of security and safety requirements, the review of requirements for the importation, marketing and use of children’s toys and the active participation of relevant civil society organisations in raising awareness among the community to prevent accidents.
According to data from the National Centre for Statistics and Information, 10,800 ambulance cases were registered in 2017, of which 74.6 per cent were due to accidents. The government also had to pay OMR400,000 in accident compensation last year.
Some 3,845 road accidents took place in 2017, down from 4,721 in 2016 and 6,279 the previous year. Some 640 people died and 3,134 injuries were caused by road accidents, with the maximum number of deaths taking place in the North Batinah Governorate (99), followed by the Dakhiliyah Governorate (81). When it came to injuries, Muscat Governorate came first (1,004), followed by South Batinah (539).
The maximum number of accidents last year took place in Muscat Governorate (1,222), followed by South Batinah (640). Speed was the number one cause of accidents, leading to 347 deaths and 1,605 injuries, followed by negligence, which led to 77 deaths and 236 injuries. Some 223 expatriates died and 841 were injured, in addition to 417 deaths and 2,293 injuries among Omanis. As of August 2018, 1,666 accidents took place in the Sultanate.