|Muscat's getting new red light cameras at most intersections|
Happy new year everyone, it seems that the ROP have started rolling out some new changes in an effort to make the roads safer. The new changes in a nut shell are: increase minimum age to drive from 17 to 18, re-introduce the points system, and put red light cameras everywhere.
The official stats for 2012 are:
1,131 deaths (1 death every 7 hours and 45 minutes)
11,364 injuries (1 injury every 46 minutes)
The official stats for 2011 are:
1,051 deaths (1 death every 8 hours and 20 minutes)
11,322 injuries (1 injury every 46 minutes)
The official stats for 2010 are:
820 deaths (1 death every 10 hours and 41 minutes)
7,571 injuries (1 injury every 1 hour and 9 minutes)
The official stats for 2009 are:
953 deaths (1 death every 9 hours and 11 minutes)Injuries not available
Now the trend is obvious: More people are getting killed on the roads in 2012 than in 2011. The ROP are spinning this by stating that in 2012 there was a 23% raise in new vehicle registrations (I'm sure the car dealerships had a stellar year then!) so there were more cars on the road, and thus the % of drivers involved in injuries/deaths in accidents has fallen even though the total number has increased. Makes sense I guess.
And then the papers yesterday have announced that the ROP are implementing a points system, as if it's a new thing. Any old timer here in Oman, or any sad sack like myself who's actually read the traffic law, will know that there was a points system here before.
Basically, it is not abundantly clear in the articles on Times of Oman and Muscat Daily how exactly this points system is going to work, but the age of new drivers is being risen from 17 years to 18 years as of 1st January, which should help reduce the number of new drivers on the road, temporarily at least.
From the articles I think a new policy of 12 "black" points in a year means you lose your license for a bit. It's not detailed what exactly earns you a black point - whether thats just speeding, or speeding in excess of 30km/h of the posted limit, running a red, that sort of thing. I wonder how many black points you get for having a dirty car?!
Regular drivers of the Muscat Expressway may have noticed the new pillar speed cameras that have been installed at pretty much every interchange from MSQ up to the end of it out by Khoud. These cameras have super-long zoom lenses and can pick out speeders from quite a distance away, so slowing down just for them won't necessarily work for you any more... and the jury is still out if these things are also recording number plates and calculating average speeds too.
Here's to a hopefully less deadly 2013!