From March 1, new driving licenses issued to expatriates will have to be renewed every two years, the ROP announced on Monday.
However, expats who currently have licenses valid for 10 years will have to renew it only after the expiry of their license.
The announcement is part of the new traffic rules announced on Monday.
Among other changes include introduction of a black point system for new drivers. New drivers in Oman will be issued temporary driving licences for 12 months under a probation scheme.
According to the ROP, drivers who get more than ten ‘black’ points on their temporary driving licenses will have to take more driving lessons. Temporary driving licences will be extended by only one year for a new driver who earns more than seven black points in a year.
However, Omani drivers who earn six or less black points during the probation period will get a ten-year driving license.
Seat belts have also been made mandatory for all passengers in a vehicle. ROP has said that all passengers inside a vehicle will have to wear seat belts, including those sitting in the backseat. Currently, it is compulsory for only passengers sitting in the front seats to wear seat belts. Also, child restraints have been made mandatory for children under four years.
“The belt was previously compulsory only for the driver and front passenger, but now it is compulsory for all passengers,” Brigadier Mohammed Al Rawas, Director General of ROP’s Traffic Department said, adding, “We care about the children safety also.”
Other changes include hefty penalties for serious traffic offences.
There has been an increase in fines for 52 offences including penalty for parking in spaces meant for the disabled, which has been increased from RO10 to RO50. Trucks that overtake will also have to pay a fine of RO50. A fine of RO50 will also be imposed on drivers [including women] who cover their faces..
In a new development, women will be allowed to drive taxis and other commercial vehicles – including “heavy vehicles” from March 1.