Road Safety Initiatives
Royal Oman Police

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The Royal Oman Police (ROP) has a sacred role of protecting the citizens and residents of the sultanate. With good roads and superhighways connecting all corners of the country to ease communication and transportation, these infrastructures are also the most dangerous areas in the country. However, the statistics for road traffic accident over an eight-year period are grim with more than 6,500 people killed and more than 75,000 injured in auto accidents on Oman’s roads. With a population just over three million, the sultanate has one of the worst reported road crash fatality rates in the world, according to Al Mustadaama (“Sustainability”), an independent Omani social research enterprise. Annual recorded road fatalities in Oman have increased from 580 in 2002 to 1056 in 2011. According to ROP’s statistics, every eight hours a person dies on Oman’s road. 1139 people were killed and 11,000 injured on these roads last year. That accounts for one accident per hour. More than 120 children died in traffic accidents last year. From January to August this year, there were 5221 accidents killing 622 people and injuring more. According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), up to 70 per cent of emergency surgeries conducted in the sultanate are related to road accidents. A study conducted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) has found that road accidents in the sultanate have been burdening the ministry’s budget with operational costs, which are rising at an alarming rate. Road accident injuries also put an immense burden on hospitals and health systems. In addition, Road accidents in Oman cost local insurance firms an average of OMR 25 million (USD 65 million) per year. Such road traffic accidents regardless whether they were major or minor accidents created massive traffic jams which affected the productivity in the country as vehicles involved in the accidents were not to be removed from the accident zone until the arrival of the ROP. As a result, many people were delayed from reaching their destinations for more than several hours. Furthermore, road accidents also cause enormous losses to the country’s productivity as most of the victims of road accidents are young. With more highways and 10,000 new cars registered every month, the accidents will remain high in if the ROP did not take proactive actions to reduce it. According to the ROP, among the top causes of road accidents in Oman are using a mobile phone while driving, talking to passengers, speeding and fatigue. Clearly protecting the citizens from road hazards has become one of the greatest challenges by the ROP to bring about quality services to its citizens and residents.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
In 2010, ROP organised a symposium which brought together local and international road safety experts. It concluded with the adoption of 20 recommendations to improve road safety in Oman which were immediately approved by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. The ROP adopted a holistic, multi-prong approach based on these recommendations to reduce road traffic accidents and improve their services to the public. a. At the national level, the National Committee for Road Safety (NCRS) was established and it formulated a national traffic safety strategy from 2011-2020, in coordination with all concerned parties and in line with current legislation and international standards. The NCRS also established a national centre for road traffic statistics and information providing comprehensive data for relevant parties and road safety researchers. b. Public awareness and education i. Traffic education is now embedded in the curricula of public and private education, colleges and universities in order to nurture a generation that is aware, compliant with traffic rules and contributes effectively to promoting traffic awareness. ii. October 18 has been designated as Annual Traffic Safety Day and the Traffic Safety Competition is held to instil road safety culture. It also encourages society, establishments and individuals in building a partnership that will help reduce traffic accidents. iii. Traffic Safety Expo is organized annually which feature not only the latest trends and most innovative solutions in traffic safety but also an event which highlights the effective safety models and best practices implemented in the Private Sector c. The ROP installed modern and effective use of media and technology to enhance traffic safety awareness in all sectors of the society. The decision to introduce mobile radar systems and more intense patrolling make clear their positive intentions to make the roads safer. d. Ambulance services, first aid at the scene, injury treatment in emergency departments, medical and psychological rehabilitation have been expanded to reduce the social impacts of road traffic crashes. e. Speed limits on main roads, in the regions and in residential and commercial areas are reviewed in order to reduce road accidents which complemented government expenditure of more than OMR220 million (USD$ 571 million) in the last five years on road improvements to cut down on road accidents and their fatalities. f. Minor Road Traffic Accidents (RTA) process was also streamlined. If the RTA only causes minor damage to one or more vehicles, but with no in injuries, deaths, or material damage to public/private properties, parties involved should immediately move their vehicles to the side of the road and settle the issues without referring to the police station. The new system aims to reduce unnecessary traffic jams caused by simple traffic accidents, ensure smooth flow of traffic, after moving the vehicles involved in the accident to the side of the road at once. The new procedures also prevent other serious traffic accidents as a result of a simple accident. It would also save the time of other road users. g. Apart from public awareness programme to reduce the incidence of accidents and minimize their social, emotional and economic burden, another dimension of this quest is to establish evidence-based data on RTA so that enlightened mechanisms can be put in place to reduce the burden of RTA on the Sultanate. The Research Council inaugurated a National Research Strategy for Oman in order to lay ground work for a comprehensive overview of the magnitude, risk factors and impact of RTA injuries and to develop ways to prevent and lessen the impact of road crashes in the Oman.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The holistic, multi-prong approach is essential due to the vastness of the country and the diversity of its population. Through the Road Traffic Institute, the ROP trains its traffic officers, road users, driving instructors and examiners to be exemplary and safe road users. Through the Traffic Safety Competition, it encourages the whole society of all categories to participate in enhancing road safety and reduce traffic accidents which involve the governmental, non-governmental, private sector organizations, and individuals in the work for spreading traffic safety awareness. Galvanising the entire strata of the society, these competition is the most creative and innovation aspect of this initiative. Traffic safety is everybody’s concern. By engaging the public directly through the Competition, Exhibition and public awareness programme, ROP empowers the public to take road safety very seriously. Supported by evidence-based research, ROP is able to analyse the magnitude, risk factors and impact of RTA injuries, and find ways to prevent and lessen the impact of road crashes. The results would be incorporated into a broad range of activities including the development and management of road infrastructure, the provision of safer vehicles, law enforcement, mobility planning, and the provision of health and hospital services, etc

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Based on the recommendations from the Traffic Safety Symposium in 2010, the following actions were taken to implement the solutions. The objective was to strengthen the roles of the various stakeholders and cooperation between the parties concerned in the traffic. a. Public Awareness Programme - Conducted about 255 lectures on road safety awareness, organizing meetings and annual competitions and exhibitions on traffic safety. b. Safety on road Award - organized annually of cooperation on the between of Sultanate Schools with the ROP and Shell Development Company – Oman, targeting all Omani school community. Competition traffic safety is organized annually with the participation of government, private agencies and NGOs. c. Road Safety Enhancement – Implemented the Speed Timers System to cover most of the roads in order to adjust the legal speeds limits. d. Technical inspection of vehicles - carried out in the various governorates of the Sultanate's infrastructure, equipment and buildings and specialized cadres, and aims to reduce accidents caused due to technical malfunctions of vehicles. e. Expanding the role of Police women – now they are deployed to work as traffic police f. Document safety on the road in (added in school curriculum about the road Safety) Omani school Curriculum -coordination with the Royal Oman Police and the Ministry of Education, with funding from the Office of Shell Development Oman, and with the help of laboratory research British Transport and circulated at the level of schools Sultanate, and consists of six parts on public safety on the road each subject, according to stages. g. Expand ambulance services and the primary health care on the roads: geography was expanded ambulance services to most of the roads under the supervision of the Royal Oman Police in various parts of the Sultanate, and work around the clock, and well-equipped, and enhanced cadres Medical with high-level training in order to provide the service ambulatory high quality. h. Development of traffic circles in the courts: the rehabilitation of cadres of the public prosecutor and judges as a specialty in dealing with traffic accidents and other problems in the traffic. i. Impose more oversight and control traffic on the roads: configured number of traffic control teams in all governorates of the Sultanate and provide mechanisms and devices that enable them to perform their work. j. Online Traffic services: website was created specializes in traffic safety under the supervision of General Directorate of Traffic. k. Cooperation with the Council of Scientific Research: The Coordination Council to adopt a scientific research program (road safety) in collaboration with the British laboratory for Transportation Research. l. Electronic link with insurance companies: Insurance companies were connected with each other automatically and the Royal Oman Police to see traffic violations to the owner of the vehicle during vehicle insurance pricing insurance policy on this basis , also included data connectivity minor incidents committed by procuring the insurance companies. m. Review and evaluate the regulations to determine speed on public roads: coordination with the competent authorities to identify and review on the road speed to make it fit with the conditions and the growing changes that arise close to it. n. Make the roads safer for users of pedestrians: be coordinated with stakeholders’ ways to make pedestrian crossing safer. o. Construction of roads in accordance with the manual design methods adopted: coordinate with the concerned authorities to raise the level of efficiency and development of engineered roads, the introduction of advanced technologies and the means to make them adapt to the booming traffic.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The holistic, multi-prong approach adopted by the ROP to reduce Road Traffic Accidents and improve its services indicates that multiple stakeholders at national, regionally and district levels. This means the inclusion of every stakeholder into the programme to play his/her roles together in organised well-researched initiatives in an integrated fashion while addressing road safety holistically. The major stakeholders are the Government sector, the private and corporate sector, the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the community at large. ROP leverages on NGO such as the Oman Road Safety Association ORSA to proliferate road safety management and campaigns especially in engaging the community, the private and corporate sectors as well as other government entities. The ORSA is a non-profit organisation which strives to make driving on roads in Oman the safest in the world. The community as a stakeholder should be ready to accept the awareness elements imparted through community-based preventive programme and to adopt a proactive and interactive role in these interventions. The role of the private and corporate sector is to fully find and actively participate as well as work closely with the NGOs. Through a closely co-ordinated programme, ROP and its multiple stakeholders will be able to achieve its objective of making roads in Oman safe for all road users.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Financial resources were not an obstacle as there are always supports from the government which was provided by the Royal Oman Police as well as private entities like Petrol Development Oman (PDO). These private entities incorporate traffic safety activities as part of the corporate social responsibilities returns. The Safety Training Institute provides the trained manpower to implement the holistic traffic safety initiative. Modern technology has also been deployed to assist in carrying out the work, in addition to the safety devices of traffic that is used in the field training. In addition, ROP spent more than OMR 220 million (USD$ 571 million) in the last five years on road improvements to cut down on road accidents and their fatalities.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
a. Support from the highest echelon in the sultanate. HM Sultan Qaboos bin Said approved the 20 recommendations from the Road Safety Symposium which became the blueprint for the national road safety initiative and the pave the way to improve ROP services to the community. To mark the occasion of His Majesty’s address on road safety, October 18 has been designated Annual Traffic Safety Day and a cup and valuable prizes will be awarded to any governorate, region, wilayat, institution or individual initiative which serves to enhance traffic safety. This occasion unites all stakeholders and the community in a unison to make the roads in Oman safe for everyone. b. Well-planned strategy based on data and statistics drawn up by the National Committee for Road Safety (NCRS), in coordination with all concerned parties to minimise traffic accidents in line with current legislation and international standards. c. Implementation of immediate measures such as speed management through speed cameras, basic road infrastructure improvements, rumble strips, signs, traffic calming measures, strengthening road traffic violations enforcement capacity, consistent, zero-tolerance enforcement of existing laws and introduction of stiffer penalties for violations, fast-track programme for comprehensive re-training and education of driving instructors, large-scale information campaigns on the major risk factors and priority programme of road safety education for decision makers in all stakeholder institutions d. Streamlining of ROP processes in handling minor RTA. This eliminates the massive internal procedures relating to minor incidents and reduces traffic jams caused by such minor accidents. e. The establishment of the Road Accidents Database project under the Road Safety Research Programme is perhaps one of the most important success features of this initiative. This is the first project in the region to link injury data from the Ministry of Health and crash data from Police under a single system for all stakeholders. It aims to give a single, comprehensive, objective view of the road safety situation in Oman to help with planning and the implementation of data-led actions, strategies, policies and research programs in order to reverse the trend of increasing crashes. The project uses the latest in IT, GIS and statistical methods. Known as iMAAP, the database develops effective, evidence-based approaches to reduce the problem of road injuries.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Since the implementation of this initiative, monitoring and evaluation mechanism was put in place to evaluate the performance and implementation phases, which enabled the plans to be reviewed and revised so as to achieve the objectives. This include regular reviews of the outcome at each phases, feedback from the various stakeholders especially the public. The outcome of each evaluation is properly documented as reports from the National Committee for Road Safety, the Road Traffic Research Committee and ROP. In addition, October 18 has been designated as Annual Traffic Safety Day and the Traffic Safety Competition, so the progresses of all road safety programmes are showcased at the exhibition and the national competition. These ensures the commitment of all stakeholders and their achievements and progress are showcased at the national exhibitions.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
a. Limited resources to carry out ROP’s road safety initiative – need to mobilise the NGOs and private sectors to support the public awareness programme so that ROP could deploy their staff for enforcement and policing work. Through the ORSA and various other NGOs, massive public education and awareness programmes on road traffic are conducted. To reach out to a larger target audience, mainly the youth group, ORSA also reached them through social media network such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. By engaging them in every aspect of their life, at school, at work, at play, the road users are bombarded with the need to adhere to road safety practices while on the road. b. Oman is a vast country spreading across 309,000 sq Km connected by more than 32,000 km of roads. Monitoring such road infrastructure across a vast land is a constant challenge for the ROP. By leveraging on latest technology such as mobile radar, ROP is now able to cracked down hard on traffic violators especially those who exceed the speed limit, jump traffic signals, cause an accident resulting in the death of, or serious injuries to people, damage to property and those driving under the influence of intoxicants. c. Engaging multiple stakeholders pose another challenge for the ROP. It involves transformation within the ROP as well as the country as a whole in a large framework because it involved constant communication and interaction with all related parties so that the objectives of the road safety initiative are achieved. Mindset change within the organisation had to change from deep rooted bureaucracy to that of a customer-centric organisation. In addition with a well-planned strategy and a common mission, every stakeholders; government entities, NGOs and the community worked together to make Oman’s road safer for all.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
a. The most important impact of the Road safety initiative is the reduction in number of deaths and injuries caused by Road Traffic Accidents. The ROP has succeeded in protecting the community by making roads in Oman safer for all users. There is a significant dip in deaths and injuries caused by accidents from January to October this year compared to the same period in 2012. Deaths from accidents have fallen 22 per cent, the injuries rate is down by 13 per cent and the incident rate is lesser by seven per cent. Clearly, ROP multi-prong approach is gaining success in the sultanate. b. An integrated approach involving the government, private entities, NGOs and the public is a testimony of how a common vision unites the diverse stakeholders to reduce the road fatalities. Attributing this drop to sustained awareness efforts over the past three to four years, experts say a national strategy and more road safety laws are now on the anvil. Road safety is an issue not just for the ROP, but for all. Many studies have been done to come up with a clear strategy, and soon Oman will come up with new laws and restrictions which will play a bigger role in further improving road safety. This will be embodied in the National Strategy on Road Safety 2011-2020 and things will improve further since all the various authorities will just have to follow it. c. The Ministry of Health has also stepped up its efforts to save as many lives as it can by improving emergency room services and building capacity of healthcare workers. MOH now have an intensive approach in hospital emergency rooms and when a crash is reported, their personnel are well prepared to handle the critical situation effectively and efficiently. d. Support from private and corporate sector. For example, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Higher Education, and the Royal Oman Police, Shell developed the ‘Road Safety in Education Curriculum’ project, aimed at raising road safety awareness among schoolchildren and their families. As a result of research conducted into the existing school curriculum, the project incorporated a road safety education system into the current education curriculum in the Sultanate. The initiative was led by the Transport Research Laboratory TRL-UK, a company that has vast experience of various approaches and materials used for safety education in schools and communities. e. By streamlining the process dealing with minor RTA, delays due to traffic jams and other major accidents are eradicated. Parties involved in such accidents can settle their issues out of the police station and this ease the ROP to really carry out other essential tasks such as to track down dangerous road users and traffic violators in order to protect other road users. In addition, it saves time and efforts for those involved in the minor accidents, the police as well the insurance companies. In fact, today the insurance companies can access the ROP database on traffic accidents. This Automated system enabled insurance companies to deal with the parties regarding the premium and payout and enabled them to rewards incentive for those who do not have accidents or traffic violations for a period of more than 5 years to reduce the insurance premium to (50%). By contrast, raise the premium on the repeated offenders. Information available through the system also enabled ROP to identify and rehabilitate regular offenders. h. Hasher penalty for dangerous road users - With the revised law, traffic offences are taken very seriously and the offenders can be incarcerated for no less than 24 hours. ROP cracked down hard on traffic violators especially those who exceed the speed limit, jump traffic signals, cause an accident resulting in the death of, or serious injuries to people, damage to property and those driving under the influence of intoxicants. In 2012, the ROP issued about three million violation tickets to offenders, 22% more than in 2011. In addition, ROP also increased the minimum age to qualify for a driver's licence from 17 to 18 years in a bid to reduce road accidents.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Oman has one of the highest traffic crashes in the world, according to the World Health Organisation. There is widespread consensus in the Sultanate to address the issue, accompanied by a strong political will, including the commitment of the Sultan himself. And starting with the Decade of Action in 2011, progress has already begun. This Road Safety initiative is sustainable as there is a 10 year plan developed by the NRSC to reduce RTA and making roads in Oman safe. This strategic plan is reviewed regularly by various stakeholders in the country to ensure its viability, effectiveness and sustainability. Culturally, the active public awareness programme at every level has been ingrained in every aspect of social and cultural life in the country. In school, road safety is embedded in the curricula, in movies theatres, several clips emphasising on road safety are norms. All mass media channels carry the same message to educate and create awareness to the public. In fact with the support from the various private sectors, corporations and NGOs, ROP can step up on their actions to crack down hard on traffic violators. According to the results of a study conducted by Salim and Salimah, an Omani NGO, speeding and improper driving are two main risk factors and the leading causes of road crashes in the Sultanate. It is therefore essential that this initiative is sustainable and essential in building a road safety culture in Oman. This is coupled with better enforcement strategies and an improved road safety education system, especially to train young drivers. In addition, the Research Council is funding research on road safety to ascertain the challenges confronting Oman. One of the most important projects funded by the program is establishing Road Accidents Database in Sultanate of Oman. Road accidents database is a package of software working on collecting, storing, analysing and reporting road accidents data which would enable police and other agencies to capture the Information in a computer database system and this also allowed road safety staff to analyze the information in order to identify and tackle safety problems. This is the first project in the region to link injury data from the Ministry of Health and crash data from Police under a single system for all stakeholders. It aims to give a single, comprehensive, objective view of the road safety situation in Oman to help with planning and the implementation of data-led actions, strategies, policies and research programs in order to reverse the trend of increasing crashes. Such programme can then be shared with other international entities as part of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety plan. The goal of the decade is to stabilise and then reduce the forecast level of road deaths worldwide by 2020 by increasing road safety activities at national, regional and global levels.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
a. Road Safety is everyone concern. ROP cannot do it alone. Through the implementation of a multi-prong approach to protect road users and delivery of ROP services on road safety and traffic issues, the ROP successfully reduces the death rate due to traffic accident by 22%, a 13% decrease in injuries rate and 7% decrease in incident rate, during the period from January 1 until the end of October this year compared to the same period last year. Through its public awareness programme and Road Safety Competition, ROP promotes social inclusion and galvanises every sector of the society to promote road safety and at the same time improves access to its services throughout the sultanate. The private sector also contributes to the competition as part of their social corporate responsibility programme. Overall with concerted efforts from all government agencies and private institutions, citizens and residents of the Sultanate on the application of the requirements of traffic safety, led to a positive impact in reducing traffic accidents. b. Currently, there is a lot of work has been done with ministries and organizations which is not shared. This is duplication of effort and the results are not always available to other interested parties. In addition, the road safety associations and other organizations prepared campaigns which at times are not scientifically based. Hence, such campaigns are not very effective and poorly targeted. Therefore, common databases on Road Traffic accidents and incidents are important information which is critical in the TRC’s RSRP. The scientific data can be analysed using state-of-art methodology to ascertain the high cases of accidents and Road Traffic Accidents fatality. Only with concise scientific data can sustainable solutions be derived to reduce road traffic fatality. Such solutions maybe multi-prong as it would involve several organizations working synergistically at different levels to make our roads safer. The challenge will be to collate this information from various government organizations such as Ministry of Health (MOH) and ROP into a common platform which is easily accessible by the researchers and relevant entities implementing the Road Safety solutions and campaigns. c. Oman is not suffering alone with regards to fatalities and serious casualties in road crashes. The GCC countries have similar issues and challenges, and each is working in isolation. Through the TRC, the ROP is able to learn from other countries’ experience in order implement more effective solutions to improve their services and protect road users. At the same time to knowledge sharing on road safety services and initiatives.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Royal Oman Police
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Abdullah Al Sarmi
Title:   Captin  
Telephone/ Fax:  
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Postal Code:  
City:   Muscat

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