Muscat: Drivers who jump the red light should be given heavier punishments in a bid to make roads in Oman, according to road safety experts and motorists who said they would welcome a move by the Royal Oman Police (ROP) to that effect.
On Wednesday, the ROP tweeted on its official handle that drivers who fail to stop at a red light risk a jail sentence of upto a year or a fine of upto OMR500, or both.
"Jumping a red light is among the most severe of traffic violations, where the offending driver risks a jail sentence of up to a year and a fine of up to OMR500, or one of these punishments," Major Zaid bin Mohammed Al Hosni, Head of the Violations Administration at the General Directorate of Traffic at the ROP, said in the statement.
"It is well known that accidents occurring at traffic light crossings are often very severe and result either in death or in severe injuries. Particularly since the one who is running a red light is driving at a high speed while trying to pass the lights just before they turn red. Such a wrong assessment leads to an accident," he added.
Al Hosni said that these punishments also apply to drivers who are speeding, driving recklessly or under the influence of alcohol or any type of drugs, crossing in an unsafe place or where it is forbidden to cross, or posing a threat to the lives or possessions of others.
"The punishment will be one to five years in prison when this leads to death or injury of another person, or when the victim is prevented from working for more than 10 days.
That includes driving the vehicle without the proper permit, using the vehicle for other purposes than it was allowed to, driving a vehicle which permit or number plate was withdrawn, or driving with an expired driving license," Al Hosni said.
Al Hosni also said that the fine for driving on the wrong lane at the traffic light is OMR35.
"Changing lanes without abiding by safe traffic behaviour, whether it is on interchanges or on roads, is obstructing other road users and leads to confusion among traffic. Suddenly changing lanes causes traffic accidents, God forbid," Al Hosni added.
Quoting a study, ROP official Al Hosni said that 72 percent of drivers admitted that they text and drive and 80 percent had admitted that they lose focus while typing.