Muscat: Drivers seem to have paid little heed to the advice of road safety experts for the Holy Month of Ramadan, which is clearly showing in the latest accidents figures. One indication of this disturbing trend is accident rescue cases jumping more than 50 per cent in July 2014, when compared with July 2013, the Public Authority of Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA) said on Monday night.
PACDA said they recorded 755 accident rescue cases in July 2014 as compared to 496 during the same period in 2013.
July was the Holy Month of Ramadan and road safety advocates had urged drivers to remain vigilant. "However, the figures show that road-users didn't take the advice seriously," a road safety expert said.
Speaking to Times of Oman, Daryle Hardie, CEO of Safety First Oman, said it was extremely disappointing and somewhat disturbing to see the rising accidents every year.
"That is especially disappointing considering the increased presence and efforts of the Royal Oman Police (ROP) over the recent months/years. The Holy Month of Ramadan has always been a challenge for road users in Oman. There is a need to continue with awareness programmes for safe driving practices (among youth and adults) in Oman. I believe this can help in reducing the accidents. Attitude is the key to road safety," he said.
The rescue cases were recorded after PACDA deployed its vehicles and ambulances on major highways during rush hour in July. The step was taken to cut down the time taken to reach accident sites during rush hour. "The number has grown as there was increased awareness and vigilance from citizens and residents," the PACDA said. There has been a 20 per cent rise in incidents of fire in July 2014 as compared to July 2013. "Around 351 incidents occurred in Oman in July 2014 compared to 292 in the same period last year," PACDA said.
This rescue operation of PACDA, called Asmat, is deployed in many places, including Muscat, Sohar and Salalah. "The industrial fire incidents involve huge financial losses and fatalities while domestic fires end up in human losses. This team was set up to address both the cases," an official said. However, cases of land rescues (not related to road accidents) dipped in July 2014 as compared to July 2013.
"There were around 28 rescue cases as compared to 42 in July 2013," it added.
Meanwhile, the total number of road accidents over a six-month period, through to June 2014, dropped by 32.8 per cent, according to the latest report by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).
The number of registered accidents stood at 2,909 in comparison to 4,332 cases over the same period last year.
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