Disabled motorists handicapped by parking space ‘grabbing’

Muscat, Feb 9 – Motorists with special needs continue to face difficulties despite initiatives from the government, said a top official from Oman Road Safety Association (ORSA). More initiatives are needed as people continue to park vehicles at places meant for the disabled people despite warnings and stiff penalties, said Hajar Qamber Awadh al Ajmi, deputy chairman of board of directors of ORSA. Currently, a fine of RO 50 and black points are imposed for parking at the spot meant for those with special needs.

She added, “It is not only motorists but also pedestrians with special needs (visually impaired and those with hearing difficulties) facing problems on roads with no proper walkways and no appropriate signage. She said the ORSA will be working with the authorities to have special training programmes for motorists with special needs. On Friday, ORSA launched a programme, ‘We are able to travel safely’ for people with special needs in the Wilayat of Izki in the presence of Younis bin Ali al Manthari, a representative of Izki. The launch was attended by one of the ORSA ambassadors for road safety Mohammed al Mashaykhi.

Hajar al Ajmi said the campaign comes as part of ORSA’s efforts for 2019 to have better and safer roads for all users. “We target wide and diverse segments of society and strongly believe there is a necessity to highlight the concerns of special needs groups in society. ORSA has been working closely with all government and private agencies to help this category of road users and raise awareness of their requirements.” She thanked Mashaykhi, a silver medalist at 2018 para games in Jakarta, for accepting the role of a brand ambassador of road safety for those with special needs. ORSA is the only NGO for road safety in Oman recognised by the Ministry of Social Development.