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Road safety

A sharp fall in the number of road accidents in the Sultanate is a tribute to the untiring work of the authorities to ensure traffic safety. The number of accidents fell by 16.5 per cent this year until July when compared to the same period last year. The decline in accidents to 2,349 from 2,814 would not have been possible without the concerted efforts of all agencies involved in the task like the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Royal Oman Police as well as the respective civic bodies. A significant 5.8 per cent drop in the fatalities to 374 from 397 also is cause for added joy for citizens and residents. Statistics made available by the National Centre for Statistics and Information show the remarkable increase in road safety in the Sultanate, on account of better policing and enforcement of the rules as well as upgrading of the roads. The data also show an improving trend from last year when the accident number in the first half fell by 18 per cent as compared to the same period of the previous year. Accident fatalities also fell 6.5 per cent during the period. Even the 2015 figures were a pleasant surprise when compared to 2014 with the drop amounting to a stupendous 33 per cent. The steady trend shows that such massive drops are not by fluke, but the result of the continuous monitoring of road and driving conditions by the authorities.

ROP’s incessant campaign for higher awareness among road users has been yielding results. On the one hand, there has been a marked jump in public awareness about road safety and, on the other, a significant improvement in the quality of road infrastructure must be credited with the continuing improvement in the situation. The authorities must be appreciated for pressing on with the two-pronged drive of awareness and enforcement. It is noteworthy that the ROP is continuing to strengthen its drive against speeding. Violations like failure to follow the rules including wrong passing, erratic lane changing and substance abuse can also cause accidents. The authorities reckon traffic accidents as needless waste as they result from preventable lapses on the part of somebody or the other. A momentary lapse causing a long-standing, sometimes life-long, loss to victims and the communities to which they belong. It may be true that a zero-accident situation is not easy to achieve, because so long as humans are involved there will be some lapse of the other resulting in an undesirable situation. Of course the cause of the accident need not be an error caused by an accident victim. He or she could have been at the wrong place at the wrong time when somebody else erred in observing the safety norms triggering the accident. Accidents could cause debilitating injuries or even death. Only a high level of awareness to follow the rules meticulously will help prevent them. Those who cry about a steep rise in traffic fines must understand that the increase in the number of vehicles necessitates more stringent measures to keep the roads relatively safe. That is because when the density of road users increases, the margin of error narrows down.