Muscat: Royal Oman Police (ROP) has issued a directive, via twitter, ordering that trucks weighing more than 10 tonnes cannot be driven in the peak travel hours during Ramadan, from 7.00am to 9.30am and 1.00pm to 3.00pm.
Overloaded trucks have been found to be the main cause of traffic bottlenecks, and the ROP will intensify patrolling to prevent heavy trucks from violating the peak time rules.
"If heavy trucks do not abide by these rules, their drivers will be fined by the ROP patrols," an official said. The official explained that the increase in the number of heavy vehicles in Oman was due to the economic boom, as well as infrastructure projects underway throughout the Sultanate.
"The Royal Oman Police, in coordination with various government agencies, is seeking to ensure an easy passage for these heavy trucks to serve the public interest but, at the same time, it has to guard against causing any inconvenience to other road users," the official said. Accidents involving heavy trucks have been a cause of concern among authorities.
In responses to the ROP tweet, many people have suggested that heavy trucks do not require time controls, but need a specially designated driving lane for trucks on the nation's roads.
According to statistics, road accidents involving heavy trucks in Oman have claimed 45 lives and left 456 injured in 616 accidents in 2013, compared to 44 deaths and 533 injuries in 2012.
"Most of these accidents in Oman were caused by the drivers of light vehicles, because the majority of the heavy trucks involved in such accidents were actually parked by the roadside at the time of the mishaps," a senior ROP official told Times of Oman.
He added, "Most drivers of light vehicles involved in road accidents were found using cellphones while driving, which led them to lose control of their vehicles, skidding and colliding with heavy trucks."
"Light vehicle drivers do not maintain a safe distance between themselves and heavy trucks. This often leads to crashing from behind, when the heavy truck driver applies his brakes," an official said.
In an effort to reduce accidents involving heavy trucks, the Royal Oman Police, in cooperation with the Ministry of Manpower, continues to train Omani heavy truck drivers at the Traffic Safety Institute.
The ROP has trained 400 heavy truck drivers in safe driving skills and conducted awareness programmes for drivers employed in the private sector.
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