It seems in the last week or so the red light cameras that popped up all over town lately got switched on. And with that has come some controversy regarding them... there's no clear (in the English press anyway) ruling on why the cameras flash.
After investigating a little more it apparently has not been clearly explained in the Arabic press either.
So here's the results of my brief research on this so far:
The cameras flash for people running red lights, as well as flash for people speeding in the intersection.
There's rumours that the camera's are set to flash if you exceed 40 KM/h in the intersection (regardless of the posted speed limit) - however I've driven through some at 50 and not been flashed so perhaps the other rumour I've heard on this, that the cameras are set to go off if you are 1 KM/h over the posted speed limit, is true.
There is also no clear indication of what sort of fine you face for running a red light / speeding in an intersection. Previously, if you were pulled over by an ROP officer for running a red light then you would be spending a couple of nights in jail - but now that things have moved to a photo-radar enforced system for red lights, it's unclear if people are expected to go to jail for running a red, or just pay a fine..... otherwise Mulkia renewal time could mean a mini-break in a lock up...
Plus there is the confusion on what a yellow light means. In Canada a yellow light (which is solid, not flashing) means stop if you can before the stop line, if not, proceed carefully - eg if you are doing 80 KM/h and the light goes yellow right before you enter the intersection, you should proceed rather than skid to a halt inside the intersection. A flashing yellow light at an intersection in Canada means to proceed with caution and treat it like a 4-way stop. A yellow light in the UK means stop if you can before the stop line, if not, proceed carefully (just like a solid Canadian yellow light), a solid red and yellow light means stop before the line and don't proceed until green. So as a holder of a Canadian driving license, which was used to grant me an Omani license, I assumed that a flashing yellow light means proceed if clear, when in practice I treat it like a solid yellow - stop if you can or if not proceed carefully.
But I've known people to be pulled over by the ROP for driving through a yellow light here - and of course the total lack of any clear information on this matter just further clouds things. I wonder if we'll ever get a clear and concise ruling from the authorities for these traffic cameras - or I guess most of us will be staying in jails come renewals time....