Drive into any fuel station across the country and you’’ find the ‘No Smoking’ board in big, bold letters. Yet, many drivers waiting in the queue to fill their tanks have been found with lighted cigarettes between their fingers.
Many questions come to the mind with no clear answers.
Despite the numerous alerts and warnings sent by the authorities concerned, some people continue to remain irresponsible while flouting rules.
When the fuel station attendants were asked how they could allow such behaviour, their reply was, “What can we do?”
For those who do not know, here are some regulations when you are at a fuel station: turn off the engine, do not smoke and do not keep fuel bottles inside the vehicle. It’s mandatory for any motorist driving into the fuel station to abide by these regulations.
It is not about risking your own life, but also of others who are not responsible for your carelessness.
The issue was discussed on social media, where many felt the need for better safety measures at the fuel stations.
The fuel station staff should ask motorists to abide by rules or deny service to them, suggested some of them.
If people still don’t take things seriously, then they should be slapped with hefty fines and closely monitored in order to discipline them.
Cigarette is considered a bomb when lighted in fuel stations, especially when they are located in the middle of residential or commercial areas.
According to experts, cigarettes can result in unforeseen disaster. Smoking in fuel stations is one of the most dangerous practices committed by drivers who don’t seem to be aware of the danger despite warnings.
Such behaviour poses a serious risk to the driver as well as the fuel station attendants.
Recently, the government imposed hefty fines on those smoking in enclosed public areas. Reacting to the curbs, citizens and residents said the municipality should ban smoking at all public places, including streets.
The Public Authority for Civil Defence (PACDA) has been continuously warning against smoking near inflammable areas, including fuel stations.
As a precautionary measure, signboards warning against smoking have been placed at prominent places at the fuel stations so that motorists can see and abide by them.
The Muscat Municipality has warned offenders will be slapped with a fine of RO 100 to RO 300 for violating the smoking ban.
Smoking has already been banned on public transport and enclosed areas, including government premises, health centres and hospitals, clinics and dispensaries, educational institutions, industries, commercial centres and markets, restaurants and coffee shops and clubs.
The Muscat Municipal Council also suggested that smoking be banned even in public places such as parks and beaches.
Many fire accidents involving cigarettes have been witnessed earlier. It’s time to ensure such risks are prevented before it is too late.

Fahad Al Ghadani

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