Road accidents dip by 50 pc

MUSCAT, Feb 9 – Road traffic accidents have reduced by an average of 50 per cent in the last five years, Dr Wahid al Kharusi, President of Oman Cancer Association (OCA) and also the ORSA founder, has said. “Oman roads are safer than before,” Dr Al Kharusi said, adding this has been possible because of the efforts of Royal Oman Police (ROP), Oman Road Safety Association (ORSA) and other public and private entities that have been working towards the goal of ‘Zero Traffic Accident’. He attributed the reduction in accident rate to the continuous training programmes and enhanced law enforcement.

He said speed cameras installed every 800 metres and strict laws dealing with traffic offences had helped bring down the accident rate. A recent study has shown that newborn children and those up to three years sitting on the rear centre seat are 43 per cent safer than those sitting on the rear side seat. Forty-one per cent of parents make children sit on the rear side seat, which is not safe for them. “Every child has the right to safe travel; parents have no right to deny it. They should be properly fastened to seats or support seats in the middle of the rear seat, failing which parents can be held responsible in case of accidents,” said Dr Al Wahid, who is also the first GCC national to be inducted into the Board of Directors at Union for International Cancer Control.

ROP has found that the predominant reasons for road accidents are tailgating, speed, negligence, multitasking, and fatigue. The National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) said seven per cent of traffic accidents reported last year were due to motorists not keeping safe distance between vehicles, followed by negligence by drivers, and speeding. Last year, ROP came out with a host of rules to make roads and users safer, including seatbelts for all, car seats for children, and a new points system that blacklists bad drivers and sends them back to the driving school.