It is widely publicised that Oman has an extremely high motor vehicle accident rate. Despite various restrictions being put in place, accidents are on the increase and a worrying statistic is that Oman’s fatality rate due to traffic accidents sits at 28/100 000 people with the world average at 19/100 000.
To highlight this, we should look at the statistics for the last eight years which stand at an alarming 6000 deaths and 70,000 injuries. That is an average of 750 deaths and 8750 injuries, some permanently disabled, per year. The question that needs to be asked is, “What can be done?”
The TransOman; Transportation, Innovation and Challenges Conference, which is being held in conjunction with the TransOman Exhibition from 13-15 October, it is hoped will help to answer this question. Dr. Wahid Al-Kharusi, President of the Oman Road Safety Organisation (under registration) said of the matter, “Road Safety is a major concern to all Omani’s and we hope to bring it to the forefront of everyone’s attention at the TransOman conference. Platforms such as these are valuable tools to get one’s message across and we believe that the inaugural TransOman Conference and Exhibition is a step in the right direction for Oman.”
Currently Oman is experiencing alarming year on year growth in numbers of recorded road accident deaths. 2009 has already shown a 9% increase up to this period on previous years. While 9% may seem like a small percentage it equates to six more people dying on Oman’s roads each month, which at current trends will mean that seventy-two more people will die before the end of the year than in previous years.
“It is important to tackle things directly and by opening up a constructive discussion we may be able to create solutions to curb this increase (in accident rates) that we see currently,” explained Dr. Kharusi.
What seems to be an inherent problem is the dangerous driving of trucks within the Sultanate. On more than one occasion accidents have been caused when trucks with heavy loads either shift across lanes to overtake slower vehicles or lose control due to higher than recommended speeds.
“Shouldn’t increased driver training allow for safer conditions on Oman’s roads?” This was a question posed to SATA LLC Sales Manager Robert Hughes, exhibitors at TransOman. His reply; “A technically correct truck with a trained driver enhances safety for all road users however a technically incorrect truck with an untrained driver is a disaster waiting to happen!”
The TransOman Conference will be held at The Golden Tulip Seeb and will run from the 14-15 October. The organisers of the event Oman International Trade & Exhibitions (OITE) have tasked an advisory committee which has met regularly to ensure that this important event runs to international standards and incorporates all areas of Transportation and Logistics.
The advisory committee is chaired by Mr. Warith Al Kharusi, Logistics Manager for Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) and is being attended by various government officials including active participation from Mr. Rashid Bin Mohamed Al Kiyumi, Director General of Maritime Affairs at the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
Mr. Rajiv Bhatia, General Manager for Middle East Shipping and Transport Co. LLC, sponsors and exhibitors at TransOman, is the Vice Chairman of the advisory committee. His view on road safety and accidents strikes a very strong chord. “Accidents,” he said, “do not just happen, they are caused! They incur great losses on account of human life and influence the entire strata of society besides the loss of material and time. Safety, therefore, is an effective and cheap insurance policy which we all can take immediately without paying any premium.”
“We hope to see many participants at both the TransOman Conference and the Exhibition in October, as with a high level of participation we will be able to have a valuable and constructive outcome to this important topic,” said Mr. Warith Al Kharusi. “Furthermore, the industry’s future developments and opportunities must ensure we embrace global best practices in safety standards.”