Muscat: Drivers committing three grave road offences within the span of one year could be jailed under a new traffic law being considered by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, as part of a plan to curb increasing number of road accidents, according to a report published by a Saudi newspaper.
As per the newspaper report, the six GCC countries may also consider new rules for impounding vehicles in case the drivers commit four offences and fail to pay the fines imposed, for any of the aberrations.
"The new traffic law to be enforced in the GCC region stipulates that motorists who commit three serious traffic offences within one year that could endanger public safety will be sent to court and face imprisonment unless the judge issues a sentence to double the fine against the offender," the report said, quoting Saudi traffic police sources.
The report added that under the new rules, drivers would also be forced to pay the maximum fine in case they failed to meet the payment deadline.
"In some cases, the Ministry of Interior could also ban those drivers and impound their vehicles," the newspaper said, while quoting the sources as saying that the proposed speeding fines include SR300 (approximately OMR30) against offenders exceeding the speed limit by 25km and SR700 (approximately OMR70) for those exceeding the limit by 41km or more.
The GCC states of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman have one of the worst road accident records in the world.
1,139 killed in accidents
According to the Royal Oman Police (ROP) statistics for 2012, road accidents led to one case of injury every hour and one death was reported every eight hours due to a crash. A total of 1,139 people were killed in road accidents across the country in 2012.
However, the latest figures from the ROP's Directorate General of Traffic show that fatalities have come down significantly — by 18.2 per cent — this year compared to last year.
Comparing accident data for January-June in 2013 (4,103 cases) and the same period last year (4,177), the number of accidents shows a marginal decline of 1.8 per cent, while injuries have come down by 11.4 per cent.
Significantly, the number of deaths showed a decrease from 539 last year to 441 in 2013, a decline of 18.2 per cent. Month-wise, March 2013 witnessed the highest number of road accident fatalities at 82, while in January, there were 75 deaths, 62 in February, 74 in April, 68 in May and 80 deaths in June.
According to the Directorate General of Traffic, the number of injuries has also come down — by 11.4 per cent — from 6,119 in 2012 to 5,420 in 2013. January this year recorded the highest number of road accident injuries with 1,026 cases, while February recorded 778, March 944, April 916, May 912 and June 844.
Of the injured, 4,263 were Omanis and 1,157 were expatriates. There was a decline in both the categories, with injuries to Omanis coming down by 13.3 per cent and to expatriates by 3.8 per cent. In comparison, last year, 4,916 Omanis and 1,203 expatriates sustained injuries in accidents during the first six months.