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
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:
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.