Oman registers 22% drop in road accident deaths 

                 Road Accidents

By Shaddad Al Musalmy – Muscat Daily – November 06, 2013 – Muscat – 

Road safety appears to have improved in Oman, with a significant dip in deaths and injuries caused by accidents from January to October this year compared to the same period in 2012.

“Deaths from accidents have fallen 22 per cent, the injuries rate is down by 13 per cent and the incident rate is lesser by seven per cent,” an official source from the ROP said.

Attributing this drop to sustained awareness efforts over the past three to four years, experts say a national strategy and more road safety laws are now on the anvil.

Dr Mohammed al Yazidi, director of environmental and occupational health at the Ministry of Health (MoH) and a road safety expert, said, “Road safety is an issue not just for the ROP, but for all. Many studies have been done to come up with a clear strategy, and soon Oman will come up with new laws and restrictions which I think will play a bigger role in further improving road safety.”

He said that once the National Strategy on  Road Safety 2011-2020 is introduced, ‘things will improve further since all the various authorities will just have to follow it’.

MoH too has stepped up its efforts to save as many lives as it can by improving emergency room services and building capacity of healthcare workers, he said. “We now have an intensive approach in hospital emergency rooms and when a crash is reported, our personnel are well prepared. We are more active than before.”

He added that fines for speeding should be hiked. “Speeding is the main reason behind accidents in Oman and yet, the minimum penalty is just RO10. Motorists would be more careful if the fine is raised. Cameras are just for monitoring; a heavier penalty would be more effective, like in neighbouring countries.”

Comments on the national strategy were reviewed at a recent meeting of the National Committee for Road Safety chaired by Lt Gen Hassan bin Mohsin al Shuraiqi, Inspector General of Police and Customs. “The committee also discussed the report of the British Transport Research Laboratory on aspects of traffic safety in Oman,” the ROP source said.

A World Health Organization’s Global status report on road safety in 2013 says that the younger age groups are the hardest hit in accidents. “About 60 per cent of those killed in road crashes are between the ages of 15 and 44 years, and over 75 per cent are male. This is in line with the updated Global Burden of Disease Data 2010, which shows that road accidents are the leading cause of death among those aged 15-29 years in this (Eastern Mediterranean) region,” it says.

This report serves as a baseline for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, declared by the UN General Assembly, and says that the number of road accident deaths globally remains unacceptably high at 1.24mn  per year.

“Only 28 countries, covering seven per cent of the world’s population, have comprehensive road safety laws on five key risk factors – drinking and driving, speeding and failing to use motorcycle helmets, seat belts and child restraints,” the report says.

Oman registers 22% drop in road accident deaths