Tuesday, November 12, 2013
17





It started yesterday, and runs until Thursday (14th) at the Oman Exhibition Centre out near the airport. The 2013 installment of the Oman Traffic Safety Expo is underway, with a number of presentations and bits and pieces going on every day. Probably the most exciting thing about the event is that there will be a raffle draw and the opportunity to win 1 of 3 cars sponsored by some of the big motor houses here in the City.

Not really sure what a prize raffle has to do with traffic safety, perhaps in an effort to get more people to go and learn something, I don't know.

You can check out their website here, and their facebook page here for more information.

Now for the rant...

Some of you may know that I'm a father now, to possibly definitely the worlds cutest little girl. It is quite indescribable the love that I feel for her, and only other parents will know what I'm talking about. So, it makes me incredibly angry when I see kids not being buckled into cars when out and about on the roads here in the City.

After quite some consideration on this I have arrived at the following conclusion of most parents who drive here in Oman without safely securing their children in their vehicles:

They are either:

1. Ignorant
2. Stupid
3. Lazy
4. Cheap

Or a combination of the above. Why is it that Mr GMC Envoy V8, or Mrs Porche Cayenne, or Mr BMW 7 Series can put their own seat belts on, but they cant / wont / don't put on their children's seat belts, or safely secure them in car seats? Is it because they are just plain ignorant of the fact that a kid jumping up and down in the back seat (or the front seat for that matter) is going to go straight through the windscreen should they have to stop suddenly? Is it just because they are just ridiculously stupid? Are they too lazy to buckle their kids in? Or are they too cheap to buy a car seat for their kid (but it's ok to have the latest idiot phone and high-power vehicle)? The argument that they buckle their kids in but the kids then unbuckle themselves is not an argument, it is just poor parenting. If a kid does something bad (like undo their seat belt in a car that's not finished it's journey yet) then it needs to be taught that this is unsafe and told not to do it, you don't just carry on driving. It's called parenting.

I remember listening to the radio (90.4) when I first moved here and there was a high ranking ROP officer being interviewed on air and was even taking calls from people who had questions, and the issue even then, 6 years ago, came up about kids not being secured in vehicles. I will never forget to my dying day the answer this ROP officer said: It is not the job of the ROP to interfere in the family matters.

What the? Really? Hahaha! So, it's not the ROP's job to check that all passengers in a vehicle are buckled up, but it IS their job to make sure the driver is buckled up. Riiiight, that makes sense, because in an accident situation it only matters that the driver is wearing their seat belt. Anyway, I think the ROP themselves have pulled up their socks and have been making significant efforts in the last few years to try and curb traffic accidents - they now have much better tools to aid them in enforcement, and I have actually seen them way more proactive lately with the number of random checks on the side of the road significantly increased. A really good sign.


The ROP today have announced in the papers that there are 90 new mobile speed cameras that have been deployed across the country in a bid to help catch speeding drivers. The picture above is one of a few that are making the rounds on WhatsApps - the ROP now have a fleet of vehicles (not just pathfinders as shown above, other vehicles too) that are fitted with these new speed cameras and they are actively patrolling the roads looking for speeding vehicles. A really good sign again. On top of this is the new city-wide red-light/speed camera roll out that we've seen in the last few months and go active earlier this month (albeit we still don't know the actual rules behind these cameras) - great to see as well, because people will seriously think twice about running a red light now.

Now, please can we see the ROP starting to tighten up on the ignorant/lazy/stupid/cheap parents who are not keeping their children's safety a paramount issue and see them fined too. Is it too much to ask?

I don't know. I hope not.

le fin.


17 comments:

Gatvol in Oman said...

Ohhhh my favorite pet peeve!
I have asked many people why their kids are not buckled in - and the majority answer 'because they cry too much'.
I have one guy working with me who has a awesome car seat for his 4 year old, but the 1 year old is still on the mother's lap.
I constantly ask him why he loves the older one more than the younger one....

(hummm just figured out why I'm not popular in the office)

I certainly hope this issue gets sorted out quickly...
Graphic Adverts will do the trick I think.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

It bothers me too, but I know why.

Porsche Cayenne: Lazy or stupid. Excuse usually is "but I don't like to hear my baby/kid crying" yada yada.

Toyota sedan (not luxury): too many kids for available seatage and family cannot afford a mini van gas or more expensive SUV. Of course, if they made it a law, then they would (this group). Mini vans would be more widely bought than Landrovers.

Omani insider perspective. Should be the ROP. Stupid/lazy people (and poor people, not necessarily cheap) need legislation to force it.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

The gov. totally can give out carseats to entitled low income families like Kuwait and Qatar do. The price of carseats themselves are not really the issue, as we don't have super strict carseat standards liek Canada does for example. In Canada the carseat is really expensive because it has to meet conditions, say like at least 200 CAD. In Oman for 12 rial you can get an okay carseat. If they kept it like that, the price of a carseat would never become an issue. And if people pleaded poverty they could get a gov. provided car seat. Charities could collect them. Not hard. Kids grow up fast, people donate baby stuff all the time ect.... Anyways, that's my blabber on the matter.

Anonymous said...

I dont think they are any of those things,they just need to be educated.if you think about it 30 years ago there were cars ,it wasnt long ago that the UK introduced Seat Belts and Car Seats but we have had cars longer..My Husband works in Road Safety there and had dome for 5 years and in his opinion they need to be Educated..one person didn't wear a Seat Belt because they didn't it would move because when they tugged it wouldn't,it needed to be explained when it was they started to wear it....so it all about education...we westerners are so take things for granted !
So Support the Young Omanis on the Safer Roads in Oman Stand !

Sythe said...

Great comments everyone, agree with all of you, even the anonymous one who doesn't know what ignorant means ;)

Terry said...

It's mainly ignorance towards the dangers. A lot of Omanis really don't know how dangerous it is to have a kid unsecured. Over the last week, I've seen kids hanging out windows on 3 separate occasions.

Also a lot of Omanis do not wear seatbelts at all suggesting that it is uncomfortable. My response is usually asking if being severely injured or worse, dead much more comfortable? The reply usually is, I'm a good driver, I don't have to worry about that.

Hearing stuff like this makes me really sad but also makes me realize how little hope there is when the people themselves refuse to acknowledge the issue.

Dalz R said...

"Can’t get involved in family matters?!?!?!" wt...(Insert few choice words)

When the issue is life and death, then it’s not a family matter anymore.

I don’t understand why a human life is so insignificant in this part of the world.

Anonymous said...

I was very happy to be invited to attend a road safety "lecture" (discussion / forum are not accurate) by an Omani self appointed road safety expert (who currently overseas road safety within Oman's biggest oil company that has a refinery at Mina-al-Fahal) that the reason parents don't insist their children wear seat belts is because they "love them too much." After falling off my chair I left in disgust.

Anonymous said...

Im a kid of the 70s. Was never buckled up in the back my whole childhood in the USA. it wasnt thought a problem then. . The same as some people dont think here. I also don't think we need to push our Western interpretation of law / rules / safety on people of other cultures. The west is a nanny state.. You can't breathe without breaking a law. If Oman police decide to educate people its fine, i don't think westerners should rant or think they know better, or try to complain. All the countries we come from are less safe, more criminalised, and less friendly. Go home and sort that out first I say. Plus families can be educated, and ranted at all you like but thet can also igore advisem their choice not yours.

Sythe said...

More great comments! To the last anon commenter above this comment - as a kid in the 70's in the USA. The reality is this:

1. There are more drivers on the road now than then.

2. There are more faster cars on the road now than then.

3. There are more injuries and fatalities on the roads here in Oman than almost ANYWHERE else on the planet when measured per capita.

4. How many fatalities or serious injuries could be averted if people just, you know, buckled up? The answer is, a lot more than if you don't buckle up.

Anonymous said...

On the top of lacking to wear seat belts the drivers turn the airbags off just to prevent the kids to get injured in case of accident.That's the argument of many Omanis.It's sad,I know...

Anonymous said...

Adding to the argument of the kid from the 70's. I have a driving licence since 1995 and since then drove 60k every year. The problem is not just not buckling up the children but also the overall driving culture. The cars are too powerful to follow each other with a space of 10 cms. People change lanes continuously just to be ahead by 10 meters. Lack of basic traffic knowledge, patience and discipline. If I were ROP I could be self-financed by just simply fining 80% of the drivers here. Most of the people think here they are alone on the road and that is the real danger towards each other.

Lani said...

I work at SQUH with student nurses in Labour and Delivery, and everyday we see women struggle through the pain and joy of bringing a new life into the world. My heart always sinks when I then see these same proud mothers being discharged, climbing into the front seat of the car with the precious newborn in her arms. They do truly believe that the baby is safest there. Beliefs are difficult to change in any country. In Canada they had to make it hospital policy that newborns could not be discharged unless a child car seat was brought in.

Keeping children safe by buckling them up is definitely NOT a 'western' interpretation of safety. Go to the Omani Road Safety website 'Salim and Salimah' for excellent Omani produced videos on child safety seats. http://www.salimandsalimah.org/media/film/doesnt-your-child-deserve-a-safe-ride/#child

Be sure to watch their video 'Flying Dummies!' http://youtu.be/vaY_Oy54PLk

They quote a lovely sura from the Qur'an that says "Each of you is a Sheppard and each is responsible for his flock".

Jdw said...

Regarding the new speed camera's,
already saw them at 2 different places fiddling around with those today. New type of camera's on a tripod so even easier to spot than the small boxes they previously used :)

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure it's about ignorance, stupidity, laziness or being cheap. I think it's because they just don't CARE. We've all seen it, two, three or more kids standing up puling at the driver or front seat passenger who are annoyed because it's interrupting the mobile phone call/text messaging whilst driving two feet behind a similarly chaotic and uncaring carload at 140kph. They don't care about themselves, their kids or others on the road so why should anybody else?

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