Eight killed in Salalah road ac­ci­dent

Tragedies can be pre­vented by avoid­ing night driv­ing: ORSA chief

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE - Shad­dad al Musalmy

The death of eight per­sons in­clud­ing four Oma­nis on Sun­day has high­lighted the dan­gers of night driv­ing on the AdamThum­rait-Salalah road.

The head-on col­li­sion be­tween two cars oc­curred in the Qat­bit area just be­fore Thum­rait lead­ing to the deaths of four Oma­nis and an equal num­ber of ex­pa­tri­ates. “The ac­ci­dent took place in Qat­bit on the AdamSalalah high­way at 11.30pm. Both sa­loon cars col­lided head-on. One car was car­ry­ing three cit­i­zens. Five per­sons in­clud­ing four Asian na­tion­als were trav­el­ling in the other car - a taxi. Six per­sons died on the spot and two died while be­ing trans­ferred to the near­est hos­pi­tal,” Capt Mo­hammed bin Salam al Hashami from the Direc­torate Gen­eral of Pub­lic Re­la­tions, ROP, said.

Al­to­gether 19 per­sons have died on this stretch in one and a half months. The Adam-Thum­rait-Salalah sin­gle car­riage­way be­comes one of the busiest roads in the coun­try in the kha­reef sea­son as many do­mes­tic and for­eign tourists flock to Dho­far via land routes. Apart from cars, heavy ve­hi­cles in­clud­ing in­ter-city buses, trailer trucks and oil tankers ply on this route.

As a re­sult, ex­perts have asked driv­ers to be more cau­tious and avoid night driv­ing espe­cially those us­ing the road for the first time. “It is im­por­tant that a safe driv­ing pro­to­col is fol­lowed by driv­ers to pre­vent ac­ci­dents. Be­ing a sin­gle car­riage­way, there is no mar­gin for er­ror. We ad­vise driv­ers to avoid night driv­ing as there are no street lights on many parts of the road,” Ali al Bar­wani, CEO, Oman Road Safety As­so­ci­a­tion (ORSA), told Mus­cat Daily.

Bar­wani said that most of the ac­ci­dents have taken place at night. “We are ea­gerly wait­ing for the com­ple­tion of ex­pan­sion works on the Adam-Thum­rait high­way which will go a long way in re­duc­ing ac­ci­dents.”

Apart from avoid­ing night driv­ing, Bar­wani said there is a need for aware­ness cam­paigns on safe driv­ing prac­tices and strict im­ple­men­ta­tion of traf­fic laws. “Ac­ci­dents on the Salalah road can be pre­vented or at least be min­imised if road users be­come more care­ful.”

“There is a need to re­duce the speed lim­its to pre­vent ac­ci­dents. Peo­ple also need to have a good rest in be­tween as fa­tigue is a ma­jor is­sue. If peo­ple can take pre­cau­tions, there is no harm in driv­ing. Trav­ellers can even fly to Salalah as there are many flights avail­able nowa­days,” he said.

Bar­wani, who is in Salalah to launch road safety cam­paign on Tues­day, com­mended ef­forts by ROP, the pub­lic and pri­vate sec- tors in cre­at­ing aware­ness. “From Tues­day to Fri­day, we will be ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple about safe driv­ing prac­tices at Mall of Salalah in co­or­di­na­tion with ROP, PDO, Or­pic and Oman LNG.”

The ROP too has said that it has made ar­range­ments to curb road ac­ci­dents dur­ing Salalah Tourism Fes­ti­val. “We urged mo­torists to be cau­tious and not over speed espe­cially while driv­ing to and from Salalah,” an ROP of­fi­cial said.

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