Traffic Accident in Oman Research Paper

Pages: 10 (2611 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Transportation

¶ … Opportunities to Reduce Traffic Accidents in Oman

As the Sultanate of Oman searches for ways to diversify its economy from its current heavy reliance on its petroleum reserves, the country's transportation infrastructure has been modernized and far more Omanis are driving today than in the past. Unfortunately, Oman also has one of the highest traffic accident rates in the world and nearly half of the fatalities caused by traffic accidents involve young people under the age of 25 years. In response to these alarming trends, the Royal Omani Police have launched a series of initiatives, some in partnership with the private sector, that are intended to raise public awareness about the problem and reduce traffic accidents in the Sultanate. To determine the efficacy of these initiatives and what remains to be done to address the need for improved traffic safety practices in the Sultanate of Oman, this paper provides a review of the relevant literature, followed by a summary of the research and important findings in the conclusion.

Review and Analysis

Royal Oman Police

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The Royal Oman Police (hereinafter alternatively "ROM") have been formally tasked with addressing the country's inordinately high traffic accident rates. Pursuant to Royal Decree No. 64/97 (October, 1997), the newly formed National Committee for Road Safety's mandate is to "develop a strategy a comprehensive standard to reduce traffic accidents and treatment of raised, and to consider the traffic problems in all its forms within the framework of policy clearly derived from the general planning of development programs" (Royal Decree No. 64/97, 1997). In response to this mandate, the ROM has launched a number of programs targeting traffic control and safety, including the following:

TOPIC: Research Paper on Traffic Accident in Oman Assignment

1. Technical inspection of vehicles: Fourteen safety inspection stations have been installed around the country to ensure that vehicles' safety features are operational and the vehicles are safe to operate on Omani highways and roads. These safety inspection stations are authorized by chapter two of the Sultanate's Traffic Law.

2. Deployment of speed control devices (radar) for traffic control. To date, the ROM has succeeded in installing and/or operating fixed and mobile services on most public streets in the various governorates of the Sultanate.

3. Institute for Traffic Safety. The goal of this initiative is to conduct training courses, seminars and conferences and the implementation of traffic safety awareness programs. These programs included rehabilitation training for taxi drivers and drivers of both light and heavy vehicles.

4. Expansion of Ambulance Services. The Royal Oman Police have expanded ambulance operations to parts of the country that lacked these services in the past in an effort to further reduce the casualties caused by traffic accidents.

5. Safety Convoy. This convoy is comprised of three buses that travel to the governorates of the Sultanate in an effort to raise awareness concerning the need for traffic safety throughout all segments of Omani society.

The current organizational structure of the Royal Oman Police is depicted in Figure 1 at Appendix a.

Traffic Accidents in Oman

Today, Oman suffers from one of highest traffic accident levels in the entire world. According to the publication, Oman Road Safety: Motivating the Drivers, "The Sultanate of Oman is marked by the second highest death toll from traffic incidents (i.e. The number of persons per 1000 whose death is caused by involvement in road accidents) in the world. Only Libya is a worse performing nation in this respect" (2012, p. 1). These alarming annual statistics were especially pronounced during October 2011, a month in which Oman experienced 670 traffic accidents wherein there were 110 deaths and 903 seriously injuries (Oman Road Safety, 2012, p. 1).

Statistics compiled by the Royal Oman Police show that fully 42 per cent of the fatalities and injured in traffic accidents in the Sultanate involve young people under the age of 25 years. The majority of the accidents involving young children resulted from the lack of use of restraints such as children's car seats (for very young children) and safety belts (for older children). As a result, the majority of injuries in this population resulted from being thrown threw vehicle windows, injured by being violently tossed about within the vehicle, or crushed by adults who were holding them. During the period 2000 to 2008, almost 6,000 Omani men, women and children died in traffic accidents, 70,000 have been injured and many of these injuries resulted in permanent disabilities. A summary of Omani traffic statistics for 2010 is set forth in Table 1 below.

Table 1

Summary of Driver and Traffic Statistics in Oman: 2010

Category

Statistics

Total number of vehicles

881,360

Total licenses

989,279

Total traffic offences

2,529,634

Total accidents

7,719

Total deaths

1,056

Total injuries

11,437

As can be seen from Table 1 above, there were 7,719 total accidents in Oman in 2010, resulting in 1,056 deaths and 11,437 total casualties. These alarming traffic accident rates are attributable in part to the modernization of Oman's transportation infrastructure. In recent years, as more highways have become available, there has been a corresponding increase in the number of personally operated vehicles in the Sultanate as well as the number of traffic accidents that have been experienced (Miedema & Oudshoorn, 2001). In fact, a noise and traffic analysis conducted in Oman's capital, Muscat City, confirmed that the country is experiencing rapid traffic growth, especially in highly urbanized centers (Miedema & Oudshoorn, 2001). The human and economic costs associated with these high traffic accident rates are staggering. The average social cost per crash and per injury, by cost component for traffic accidents in Oman as of June 2010 are set forth in Table 2 below.

Table 2

Average social cost per crash and per injury, by cost component: As of June 2010

Category

June 2010 Costs ($)

Fatal

Serious

Minor

Loss of life/permanent disability

3,559,400

355,900

14,200

Loss of output (temporary disability)

0

1,300

Medical

6,200

13,700

Legal and court

13,100

3,100

Property damage

5,600

4,000

4,100

Total

3,584,400

378,100

20,000

Contributing to the incidence of traffic accidents in Oman has been the construction of new paved roads that have linked many parts of the country together as well as connecting the country to an international network of highways with its neighbors in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen (Miedema & Oudshoorn, 2001). According to these authorities, "The length of the paved roads in Muscat City increased from just 50 kilometers in 1975 to 156 kilometers in the old part of the city and 1,213 kilometers in the entire city by 1995" (p. 37). There are also a growing number of drivers, both licensed and unlicensed, on the highways and roads of Oman that are contributing to the unacceptably high traffic accident rates as shown in Table 1 above and the inordinately high rates of fatalities as shown in Table 3 and depicted graphically in Figure 1 below.

Table 3

Traffic Fatalities (per 100,000) in Selected Arab Countries

Country

Population (millions)

Vehicles (000s)

Fatalities (per 100,000)

Algeria

32.1

2,730

12.8

Bahrain

0.7

10.9

Egypt

76.1

2,300.1

10.4

Jordan

5.6

12.8

Kuwait

2.3

28.8

Oman

2.9

23.6

Saudi Arabia

25.8

7,050.1

21.0

Figure 1. Traffic Fatalities (per 100,000) in Selected Arab Countries

Source: Based on tabular data in Martin, 2005, p. 38

As can be seen from Table 3 and Figure 1 above, Oman had the second-highest traffic fatality rate among these Arab countries with a rate of 23.6 per 100,000, trailing only Kuwait with a rate of 28.8 per 100,000.

In sum, Oman has a modern transportation infrastructure that is conducive to road safety but there remains a glaring need to educate the driving public concerning traffic safety. In this regard, Oman Road Safety concludes that, "In contrast to many other countries with high numbers of fatalities in road crashes, [Oman has] a well developed road system as well as a relatively new car fleet. Ninety-eight percent of the road crashes in Oman are reportedly due to human factors. In other words, Oman has the 'hardware' for Road Safety - but not the 'software'" (p. 2).

Omani Traffic Laws and Enforcement

Traffic laws and their enforcement in Oman were promulgated in Royal Decree No. 29/93, "Issuing the Traffic Law" (1993). Pursuant to this royal decree, the Directorate General of Traffic is generally tasked with overseeing the supervision of the traffic organization and enforcement of traffic laws throughout the Sultanate (Article 44). The Directorate General of Traffic is specifically tasked with conducting vehicle inspection and licensing, testing and licensing of drivers, investigation of traffic accidents, and installation of road signs. In addition, the Directorate of General Traffic ensures safety of all road users by administering the following activities in the Sultanate:

1. Obtaining new driving licenses;

2. Renewing driving licenses;

3. Exchanging the approved foreign driving license;

4. Vehicle registration;

5. Renewal of vehicle registration;

6. Transfer of ownership of vehicles; and,

7. Assessing fees for various traffic services (Royal Oman Police, 2012).

Traffic Safety/Accident Countermeasures and Efforts in Oman

Governmental. At the regional level, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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