Campaign starts with new school year
Drive carefully and keep our children safe. That’s the message of a new road safety campaign launched to coincide with the start of the new school term across the Sultanate.
The ‘Road Rules for After Schools’ programme aims to raise public awareness of traffic safety and reduce the impact of accidents on the roads.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that road crashes are the leading cause of death of children aged between one and four in Oman. Younger ones, aged between four weeks and a year, are also vulnerable according to a Global Burden of Disease report: the Sultanate is ranked third highest in the world for deaths due to road crashes in this age group.
More than 120 children lost their lives in accidents on the country’s roads last year alone – 60 of whom were aged six or under.
Y has been fighting for a law to make car seats compulsory in Oman for children under six, in line with other GCC countries. Currently, there is no law requiring parents to use any kind of safety precautions for children travelling in cars.
Bank Sohar announced the new child safety initiative this week as part of its ongoing ‘Be Safe…Be Responsible’ campaign running during the month of September in partnership with Oman Road Safety Association (ORSA).
“Studies show that most traffic accidents where children are involved take place around schools,” said Dr Mohamed Abdulaziz Kalmoor, chief executive officer of Bank Sohar.
“Road safety awareness, in general, needs to be spread through the community and there should be more emphasis on the safety of school zones. We hope this message will reach out to all drivers, parents, school staff and children.”
Shaima al Lawati, CEO of ORSA, stressed the importance of adopting safe habits while driving in front of schools, travelling on school buses and crossing roads.
“Parents should take a few minutes to make sure their kids understand road safety, and the rules and regulations,” she said.
Tips include making sure their children are always on time, never run to or from the bus, always stay in their seat while in the bus, wait for the driver’s signal before crossing and always cross at least 10 feet in front of the bus.
On the other side of the coin, drivers need to be road aware around schools. At 100 kph, the average car will travel over 70 metres from when the brakes are applied until coming to a complete stop. The advice is to be extra vigilant around schools and stick to the reduced speed limits to avoid a tragedy.