ORSA chief says law required for back-seat passengers to buckle up

August 07, 2017

Despite the tremendous improvements made over the past few years in reducing road accidents, Oman Road Safety Association (ORSA) has said there must be a law for back-seat passengers to belt up. ORSA has also called for a law on making child seats mandatory.

At present, it is only mandatory for front-seat passenger to buckle up. According to ORSA, the law will help reduce the number of fatalities. “Rear-seat passengers who do not wear seat belts put their lives in danger. Most injuries sustained in road accidents can be avoided by buckling up,” Ali al Barwani, CEO, ORSA told Muscat Daily.

He said the idea behind the mandatory buckling up is to prevent the passenger from being thrown out in case of a severe accident. “When an accident occurs, a speeding vehicle would come to a sudden halt thereby maximising injuries to those who are not buckled up.”

Some drivers that Muscat Daily spoke to said that they never tell their rear passengers to buckle up. “I am more concerned about the front-seat passenger. If I notice he or she has not put on seat belt, I immediately instruct the passenger to do so. It’s not a law for rear passengers to buckle up,” Adnan Rashid, a taxi driver, said.

Many passengers too feel that it is not necessary to do so. “I think one is safe in rear seats even without a seat belt. Making it a law to do so is not necessary,” Mubarak al Dhawi, a passenger, said.

ORSA is also calling the authorities to make the use of child car seat a law. “We are requesting the concerned authorities to look into the matter. At the same time we will continue spreading awareness about child car seats.”

Latest figures from the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) show that 1,989 road accidents were reported from January to June this year compared to 2,430 in the same period last year. NCSI recorded 314 fatalities from January to June this year compared to 336 in the same period last year. “Even though there is a drop in accidents, this is not enough. Many of the accidents could have been avoided. We are asking for details of all the accidents that take place so that people get to know how they happen and learn from them,” Barwani added.