In the 10 months to October 2007, injuries were 6742 and fatalities 635, around 15% up on last year. I'm also curious what the number of children injured or killed was given the almost total lack of child seats or seat belts being used, and considering the number of children I see loose in the car ready to be flung through the windscreen if there is an accident. But these stats aren't released.
While numbers of deaths and injuries continue to rise, the Times of Oman article had this classic Omani spin statement:
Statistics, however, show a 7.5 per cent fall in road accidents at 7,124 compared to 7,705 in October last year, thanks to the stringent government measures.
Yes, it's a minor improvement, and as the number of cars has risen, would look even better as a % of traffic I'm sure. But the fatality rate is shockingly high. In fact, the rate of fatalities to injuries (at around 10%) is 3 times more than in developed countries (around 3%). The Government's measures are far from stringent.
It is not about raising 'Public Awareness', the usual Omani answer to real problems – these drivers are totally aware of what they are doing. The answer in my opinion is more – a lot more – undercover traffic police, and better training for all the traffic police too. Dangerous drivers need to be stopped and fined. Really dangerous drivers should be stopped and arrested. We all see so many acts of dangerous driving every day that it would be easy for the police to stop them. Unfortunately the police themselves don't always drive safely either. Cameras on the highway may be a cheap option, but technology can't replace trained cops.
Oh, and Happy Holidays everyone.
Aside: Any Tourists coming to Oman should try to hire a 'PDO Specification' Toyota Landcruiser car rental. I know it costs more than getting a crappy little Toyota Echo, but it really is an insurance premium worth paying. Plus it means you can go offroad safely. A good place to rent high spec 4x4 from is a company called Shuram LLC (Rent A Car Division) PO Box 194, PC 134 Tel: (968) 24696299