The traffic laws have teeth now, with the ROP introducing new, heftier fines and fresh, stiffer steps to ensure safety of all, from kids to adults. Hasan al Lawati sounds the warning bells
The traffic laws in Oman are becoming stricter than before – and the residents should heed this piece of news as a warning to improve their
road manners to avoid being fined
or, worse, jailed.
The process has been set in motion with the announcement of temporary driving licences. This means that new drivers will be issued a temporary driving licence for a period of one year (12 months) under a new probation scheme.
The law will come into effect from March 1, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) announced on Monday, January 29.
The licences will also be subjected to a new points system, which will keep track of whether the drivers are doing it right on the roads.
According to the ROP, if a driver gets more than 10 ‘black’ points on their temporary driving licence, they will be sent back to the driving school to take more lessons.
Temporary driving licences will furthermore be extended by one year against any new driver who clocks up more than seven ‘black’ points a year. However, good drivers get a full 10-year driving licence if they don’t exceed six black points during their probation period.
In addition, expats will now have to renew their driving licence every two years.
“Those who already have a 10-year licence will not be affected until they have to renew them,” said Brigadier Mohammed Awadh al Rowas, Director General of Traffic.
The ROP has also added new violations to the existing traffic law in an effort to make driving safer in the Sultanate. In all, 52 new violations have been added to the traffic law, said Al Rawas.
The new amendments, first issued in August 2016, will come into effect from March 1, 2018.
Moreover, fines for 13 traffic violations will increase, including parking in spaces reserved for the handicapped, overtaking trucks in illegal areas, covering the face in a way that prevents police from identifying the driver, and other offences. These violations will attract a fine
There are a total of 415 violations in the law: Thirteen of them will attract an increase in fines, four of which will go up from RO10 to 15.
Using your mobile phone while driving will set you back RO15, and the police will confiscate the car or detain the driver if the driver repeats the offence within 90 days.
The same applies to tinting the windows of cars beyond the recommended limit.
Moreover, it is mandatory for drivers to instal child seats in the rear seats for children under the age of four, and all passengers in the car – even those in the rear seats – must now wear seatbelts.
These rules will come into effect along with the other violations. More radars will be installed at traffic lights.
On another note, women can drive taxis in the country, starting March 1.
Salima al Kharusi, a driving instructor based in Al Khuwair, says allowing women to drive taxis can help bring in more funds to the household.
“I’ve always been keen on driving taxis and I will definitely be enrolling for a licence to drive a taxi here,” she adds.