Youth at greater risk of fatalities, injuries in road accidents in Oman

Oman Wednesday 09/March/2016 21:29 PM
By: Times News Service
Youth at greater risk of fatalities, injuries in road accidents in Oman

Muscat: Although the number of traffic accidents, injuries and deaths dropped drastically in 2015, according to Royal Oman Police’s (ROP’s) data, two age groups topped the number of accidents and fatalities in Oman.
According to ROP’s Directorate General of Traffic, the age group between 16 and 25 years recorded a total of 212 deaths in 2015, and 1,201 injuries stemming from accidents, which accounted for 32 per cent and 33 per cent of the total deaths and injuries.
Preceding that group was the 26 to 50 years age group, where accidents claimed the lives of 311 people and injured 1,820.
Speeding was the number one cause for accidents, where 3,411 accidents occurred, claiming 383 lives and leaving 1,728 injured.
However, the despite the decline in the overall accident toll, people are still ignoring traffic laws regarding seatbelts and use of mobile phones.
Safety expert Mark Pudwell said, “It is good news that the number of road traffic incidents and deaths on the roads are declining.
“Road safety awareness has been raised significantly through the hard work done by the ROP and local road safety organisations.”
“The ever increasing number of speed cameras on our roads is having a significant effect on the drivers’ attitude towards speeding, however, this is not the only significant cause for road traffic incidents, deaths and injuries. There are still too many drivers of all nationalities and genders, who are simply refusing to obey the traffic laws regarding the use of seat belts and mobile phones,” he added.
Regardless of ignoring traffic laws, the age group proved that young drivers are mostly on the receiving end of fatal accidents.
Inexperience while driving can result in the death of young adults or injuries in the very least.
Her Highness Sayyida Basma Al Said, founder of Whispers Serenity and a psychotherapist, said one needed to understand the psychology of young drivers, “Younger people are more reckless because they are more daring and want to experiment more.”
“They don’t have patience and also try to compete with each other,” she added.
She pointed out that vehicles are just machines and it is the attitude of drivers and their personality that allows them to either avoid or cause a traffic accident.
Pudwell said, “Often, the reward given by more affluent parents for passing a driving test is a performance car and this combined with their lack of experience and irresponsibility is a recipe for disaster, which often leads to their demise or of that of other innocent road users.”
“The overwhelming historical evidence regarding newly qualified drivers and high performance cars clearly shows that they fall into the highest risk category for insurance claims resulting from reckless driving and this is why insurance companies always demand ridiculously high premiums for new drivers using this kind of vehicle,” he added.
Al Said explained that a car gives the driver confidence and tends to change the attitude of driving based on the car, however she stressed that drivers should think about others around them as a priority.
“Think of the safety of people around you first and then yourself. When we drive we think it’s about us, but it isn’t, it’s the people around us,” she said.
Commenting on the current thunderstorm the Sultanate is experiencing, she said, “In this kind of weather, people drive into big puddles and spray water on everybody else... nobody thinks about that.”
She added that gender also plays a factor where when males see their female counterparts driving a higher performance vehicle, they feel intimidated and will not let her pass or allow her to overtake. Stubbornness like this can likely cause accidents.
Offering words of advice about driving in rain, Pudwell said, “All drivers must allow a much greater distance from the vehicle in front as braking distances at some speeds more than double in wet weather. One way to remain safe during periods of severe weather is simply not to undertake a road journey, unless absolutely necessary and then too with greater caution.”
Last year, 6,279 accidents were recorded resulting in a total of 675 deaths and 3,624 injuries.