Muscat: Looking at your mobile phone while driving at 100 km/hr for even two seconds is the same as driving blind for 60 metres, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) has warned.
“Everything happens quickly, put the phone aside!” said the ROP. Data released by the ROP shows that in 2018, 64 deaths were caused due to people using mobile phones and engaging in other negligent activities while they were supposed to focus on the road.
According to the ROP, 370 road accidents were caused last year in Oman due to motorists looking at their phone while driving and other negligent actions, leading to 64 deaths and a further 258 injuries.
The major causes of accidents were speed, lack of vehicular control, neglect and using the mobile phone, fatigue and overtaking. A total of 637 deaths and 2,815 injuries took place due to 2,802 accidents.
The Oman Road Safety Association also asked people not to get distracted by their phones, particularly on the road. A distraction at the wrong time could be fatal for the motorist, those in his/her car, and the people around the vehicle.
“These days, people seem to have replaced their friends with their mobile phone,” explained Ali Al Barwani, a member and former CEO of the Oman Road Safety Association.
“Wherever you go, you see people playing with their phone. They seem to get very easily distracted by it, because today, you can do everything on the phone.
“The phone is not your friend. Yes, it is very useful, but it is a distraction and you must realise it is such,” he added.
“There is a time to use the phone, and it is not while driving. We of course do see people driving on the road while using a phone, and it is only a matter of time before they get into trouble because of it. I pray that it does not harm others.”
“There is still some debate on whether using a Bluetooth speaker in the car is the right way, but if a phone call is so important that you have to take it while driving, then stop by the side of the road, take the call, and then continue driving,” he explained. “Otherwise, wait until you have reached your destination, take the call and then speak freely. There is no call in the world that is worth risking your life for.”