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Times of Oman - 05.04.2015

Muscat: While statistics indicate a dip in deaths caused by speeding on roads, it still remains the single biggest cause of fatalities and injuries on the roads in Oman.

In 2014, speeding resulted in 3,510 road accidents out of a total of 6,717 accidents, killing 428 people and leaving 1,743 injured.

Though the numbers are higher in the previous year, speeding was still the number one cause of death on roads. In 2013, speeding caused 3,952 road accidents leaving 471 dead and 6,923 injured, and in 2012, 5,424 accidents left 595 killed and 4,328 injured.

A Royal Oman Police (ROP) official said, "While it is true speeding is the cause of road accidents in most of the countries, in Oman speeding radars have significantly contributed to the decline in the number of road accidents." 

The official added that the campaign, "Thank You for Abiding by the Speed Limit", has had a very positive impact in reducing road accidents. While the official thanked road users for their cooperation in reducing the road accidents, he said, "We continue to urge people not to speed." 

Paying tribute to ROP, Salim Al Ghammari, a municipality member, said the police plays a laudable role in reducing accidents and related deaths.

 "We pay tribute to ROP for playing an active role in reducing accidents and related deaths. They have been doing a great job creating awareness on road safety. Motorists must cooperate with them and support them by not indulging in reckless driving," Ghammari said.

Mark Pudwell, business development and training manager, Competence HR said, "Speed itself is not a killer. Driving at high speed combined with irresponsible and reckless driving, however, is."

"Statistics do not always present the complete picture. So, whilst everything must be done to deter drivers from exceeding legal speed limits, the authorities must continue to educate drivers on the need to act responsibly behind the wheel and heavily penalise those who persist in breaking the law and who demonstrate a complete disregard for life," felt Pudwell.

"Once a benchmark sanction is imposed and drivers see that reckless behaviour at the wheel always results in the revoking of a licence or a prison term in case of a fatality, irresponsible drivers will think twice before going beyond the moral and legal principles," he said justifying penalty. 

Daryle Hardie, CEO of road safety organisation Safety First feels unfortunately speed has and always will be the main cause for road related accidents and fatalities both in Oman and the world.

He said, "with continued efforts from the ROP and country wide awareness campaigns, highlighting the fact that speed kills we hope that these efforts 'overtime' echo in the minds of drivers forcing them to reduce their speed and drive within the speed limit(s)."

Overtaking
In 2014, overtaking was the second biggest cause of deaths in road accidents. 224 overtaking accidents left 126 people dead and 267 injured. Ignoring traffic rules (neglect) resulted in 606 road accidents and claimed 87 lives with another 356 injured.

'Improper act' was the cause of 1,479 road accidents, which took 86 lives and left 841 others injured. Vehicle defects resulted in 169 road accidents that killed 32 people and injured 109 others, followed by road defects that claimed 25 lives and injured 67 in 79 accidents.

Distance, alcohol, fatigue
Not keeping a safe distance between vehicles caused 507 road accidents resulting in the death of 15 persons and injuring 392 others, while driving under the influence of alcohol resulted in 103 roads accidents that claimed 10 lives and injured another 28. 

In 2014, fatigue was the cause of 10 accidents resulting in the death of seven persons and injuries to nine others, while adverse weather conditions and sudden braking led to 19 road accidents. But mercifully there were no fatalities.

Also in 2014, 340 persons under the age of 25 died in road accidents, according to the ROP. Adding to the 816 road deaths were 393 fatalities between the ages of 26 and 50.

In the age group of 51 to 70, 66 people were killed while 17 of those who died were above 71 years old. While drivers topped the list of accident victims with 359 deaths and 1,893 injuries, passengers too suffered, with 273 of them dying, and another 1,529 injured. 

Pedestrians were also at the receiving end with 184 of them being killed and 413 suffering injuries, in 2014.

Coming to the manner of accidents, collisions topped the list with 2,995, followed by 1,613 collisions with stationery objects while 1,144 vehicles overturned. 

Here too, 790 pedestrians were involved in run over accidents. Collisions resulted in the death of 326 and injuries to 1,914 others in 2014. Pedestrians being run over resulted in the death of 179 and injured 433 persons in 2014.
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