ROP driving change, mothers via new laws

The Royal Oman Police, in the person of Brigadier Eng Mohammed bin Awadh al Rowas, Director-General of Traffic, made a significant contribution towards safer roads in the Sultanate, with their announcement this week of changes to several traffic laws, which should make our roads safer.
Using the road will be seen, rightly, as a privilege, not a right, to be treasured and respected, given that there is to be a greater focus on repeat or recidivist offenders. With the demerit ‘black points’ system, increased fines and the new 90-day repetitive element for mobile phone users, the ROP has demonstrated a willingness to listen to and act upon community concerns.
Of course, there will be resistance to the rules governing the compulsory use of seatbelts, the most likely excuses being:
• I’m a perfect driver, I don’t have accidents
• I have airbags, so I don’t need belts
• They aren’t comfortable
• They cause injuries
• I need to keep my baby on my lap, and seatbelts get in the way
• I drive within the speed limits, not fast enough to need a belt
• I’ve been driving for 40 years and never needed them, so why now?
• They will get my clothes dirty
• I’m pregnant, so a seatbelt might hurt the baby
• They will wrinkle my clothes
• It’s my life, so I’ll decide thanks
• They will trap me in my car in an accident
All of these can be easily rebutted, and the fact is that research on all types of collisions found you are nine times more liable to death or injury if you do not wear a seatbelt as a front seat occupant, with five times the same risk if you are a back-seat occupant. Don’t let your foolish choices harm others.
In New Zealand, when the seatbelt laws came into force in the early 1970s, there was resistance, but it was eventually worn down on the back of a campaign aimed at the kids. “Make it click!” said the adverts, and kids were encouraged to “click” their own seatbelts in place. Subsequently, those same kids would place pressure on Mum and Dad to, “make it click” and so the culture was changed.
Let’s really focus now on keeping ourselves, and those precious kids safe, because the consequences of not embracing this cultural change on our roads, could haunt you for a lifetime.

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I’m sure I’m not alone, in that I probably took my mother for granted for so long. Mum, Dawn Petersen, passed away in New Zealand this week at the age of 83, after a short illness. It goes without saying then, that I’ve had an emotional few days.
We all love our Mum’s, don’t we? And I’ve grown up with my Dad’s physical appearance, and my Mum’s mannerisms, now a constant reminder of what Mum was, a constant source of nourishment, encouragement, and support. Because that’s what Mums do, and she did.
I’ve always loved Mum, though maybe I never said so often enough, and I know she rarely said it to me either but when I eagerly rushed into school on my first day, I recall, for no reason at all, turning to see Mum, lingering to make sure I was okay, and that was her, always there, and at the end of the day, she was there again.
When I went to my first school dance, it was Mum who taught me to dance. When I went on a trip with my mates and ran out of money (before mobiles), I sent a cheeky telegram to Mum, “No money. No fun. Send some. Your son.” Mum sent money without hesitation.
Whether it was relationships, life, work, or play, she didn’t always agree that’s for sure, but she never let me down. It’s true, “Mothers hold a son’s hand for a moment, and their heart for a lifetime.” I love you Mum, RIP.

Ray Petersen
petersen_ray@hotmail.com