R. Belwal, S. Belwal, A. Al Quraini
The Sultanate of Oman is one of the most accident-prone countries in the world. The road traffic accidents (RTAs) draw serious concerns in Oman and demand urgent attention of local researchers and decision makers. Following a descriptive research design, this paper investigates the attitudes and perceptions of people towards road safety and the causes of RTAs in Oman. The study takes the form of a public perception and opinion survey and adopts a mixed method approach for conducting data analyses using data collected through the questionnaires and interviews. The research probes the causes of RTAs by focusing on four major dimensions: behaviorally inclined, technically inclined, infrastructural, and externally inclined. The study finds out that despite a dip in the number of accidents in the recent years, injuries and fatalities have increased persistently in Oman. Respondents believe to a large extent that all these factors – behavioral, technical, infrastructural, and external – are the most common causes of RTAs in Oman. RTAs-related research that hitherto assign a comparatively higher attention to behavioral factors needs pay equal attention to the technical, infrastructural, and external aspects. This research suggests that in addition to raising the compliance to road safety measures, additional initiatives focusing on public policy issues such as public health, transport, urban planning, disaster management, and post-accident treatment can be contemplated to put an effective control over RTAs. A due consideration to these factors in the public policies will not only help in preventing accidents but also in mitigating the resulting loss, particularly in Oman and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in general.
Keywords: road safety; road traffic accidents; fatalities; drivers’ behaviour; technical; infrastructural; and external factors; Oman