By: Maryam Khan

MUSCAT: More and more people are getting a feel of ROP’s stricter enforcement of the Traffic Law. Violators have been handed jail sentences of up to 48 hours after the offence of jumping a red light showed up against their names during renewal of their car mulkiya (registration).

The registration is not renewed until the offender serves his/her punishment. “The ROP has taken effective measures to regulate the law. There are 22 to 25 cases every month of people jumping traffic lights and not realising their offence until their car’s registration is due for renewal or its ownership has to be transferred,” a senior ROP official told Muscat Daily.

“Depending on the degree of the violation, an offender can be fined RO50 and jailed for 24 hours to 48 hours or have his car impounded for two weeks. We are very strict with all traffic rule violators as we work towards reducing the number of road accidents and resultant deaths,” the official said. A motorist with a traffic record showing several offences can be referred to the Public Prosecution.

Ibraheem al Saeed was in for a shock last month when he went to the Seeb police station to renew his car’s registration and transfer its ownership to his brother. “An online system check revealed that I had jumped a red light and now faced a jail term. I was shown a video clip as proof.”

Saeed has asked for time to serve the sentence. “I will serve the punishment next week. It is quite a scary thought.”

Jess le Genovatin, another motorist had to serve his sentence in Salalah. “It was during Khareef when I was driving with my friend. Since he was in a hurry, I crossed the traffic signal when the light was yellow only to be stopped by an ROP car which we hadn’t noticed.”

Le Genovatin was asked to immediately report at the Saadah police station from where he was sent to the detention centre in Taqah. “The experience was beyond unbearable. Those 24 hours taught me a lesson, but I would still say that this was a very harsh punishment for a small traffic offence. I was placed with prisoners with bigger criminal charges and had to pay RO50 fine.” Le Genovatin got his car back after a week.

Fahim Ameen faces jail for an offence he was not directly involved in. His car was being driven by his friend from Dubai on the day the violation of jumping a red light was registered.

Ameen came to know of the offence during procedures to sell his car. “I was told to face the jail term or call my friend to serve it. I will go to jail next week. It’s frightening, embarrassing and unfair.”