*People urged to start early to avoid traffic stress and prevent accidents
The Traffic Department has stressed its readiness to deal with the expected traffic rush in the country in view of the start of the new school year this week.
More than 307,000 students are expected return to school tomorrow for the 2018-2019 academic year following the end of the summer vacation.
Colonel Mohamed Radi al-Hajri, director of the Awareness and Information Department at the General Directorate of Traffic, said the Traffic Department has put in place a plan to enhance the presence of traffic patrols across key locations and roads in the country to help ensure smooth vehicular flow, especially in areas (and at times) where high traffic density is anticipated, according to a report in local Arabic daily Arrayah.
The main focus is on maintaining the safety and security of all road users, the official noted.
He said traffic density is generally the highest early in the morning and in the afternoon. Accordingly, proper co-ordination will be maintained with all government authorities concerned to intensify traffic patrols during such times. In addition, traffic patrols will be present at and near key intersections and roads to deal with any potential congestion.
Colonel al-Hajri said the Traffic Department's plan has already been launched with intensive patrolling carried out in areas housing busy commercial streets, shopping complexes and souqs, places that witness a high turnout of people as part of the back-to-school preparations.
Also, traffic patrols have been deployed in the vicinity of new schools that will operate from this academic year to ensure smooth entry and exit for both students and their guardians.
Patrol vehicles (including motorcycles) will be used for quick intervention, in co-ordination with other relevant departments at the Ministry of Interior, to help people reach their destination without any difficulty in case of any congestion, especially on busy roads such as Corniche Street, Al Waab Street and February 22 Road, among others.
In the meantime, parking lots near schools will also be given special attention by traffic patrols to guarantee the safe movement of students and smooth circulation of traffic.
Colonel al-Hajri advised parents and other motorists to start early in the morning for their destination, taking into consideration the possibility of closures and diversions of some roads. He stressed that starting early would help avoid stress that could adversely impact their conduct on the road, and thereby prevent accidents.
The Traffic Department has prepared a back-to-school awareness campaign that it is expected to be launched next week, Arrayah reports.
As part of the initiative, the department will conduct school visits to raise the awareness of students on traffic rules and the importance of avoiding practices such as driving without a valid licence and stunt driving, as well as the need to abide by traffic regulations such as the speed limit. The campaign will continue throughout the school year with a focus on teenagers.
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