Number of accidents drop, but fatality rate still high

Statistics on road safety point to an emerging trend in the last few years: the number of serious accidents reported in the Sultanate has come down and so are chances of people surviving them.
Oman’s most risky road continues to be the Salalah route, which has already seen 16 deaths over the past month, not to forget accidents involving a few public transport buses since April this year.
According to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the number of road accidents dropped by 18.1 per cent from 2,430 in June-end 2016 to 1,989 for the same period this year. At the same time, there has been a 6.1-per cent dip in the number of deaths, from 336 in 2016 to 314 in 2017 during the same period.
The number of people injured dropped only 2.7 per cent, from 1,633 in 2016 to 1,589 in 2017.
Fifty-two per cent of the accidents occur during night.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications on Sunday clarified that most accidents on the Adam-Thamrait road were due to the speed factor. “I will never travel to Salalah by road from Muscat with families as the stretch is too long and we cannot avoid night travel,” said Ibrahim al Hinai, who used to take a bus from Rusayl until the arrival of the budget airline.

There are reports that even the local villagers have started a campaign, including placing of signboards and alerting motorists to reduce speed.
“We have been reading reports about nasty accidents between Adam and Thamrait. This year, even buses have been involved in accidents. There are not enough quality restrooms en route,” Mohammed al Khalil, a frequent traveller to Salalah, said.
Most of these accidents involve car collisions.
A majority of the crashes have been reported during July and August when families travel to Salalah to enjoy the mild weather.
The Royal Oman Police (ROP) has launched a campaign urging motorists to take short breaks during their travel to Salalah and take adequate rest before getting behind the wheel.
With the launch of budget airlines such as SalamAir, Air Arabia and FlyDubai, airfares to Salalah have come down by nearly 50 per cent.

Vinod Nair