Speaking on the matter, a senior official from the ROP, said they are well aware of these popular apps. “All methods of detection, whether it is a radar detector or a navigation app, is illegal in Oman. I strongly advise motorists not to use such apps because they are in violation of the traffic laws, and their users will be penalised if caught.”
A technician from a Muscat-based electronics company specialising in retrofitting touchscreens in older cars said that ‘as phone holders are illegal, many are doing it to remain within the laws’. “Many of my customers are doing it to use navigation apps which give them real time updates on traffic.”
He said that newer vehicles already have standard monitors which support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to support these navigation apps.
Another technician Mohammed Zuhair specialising in installing retrofitted touchscreens in vehicles, said, “Customers come to replace their original screens if their vehicles are older.
“Our rates range from RO85 to RO500. We offer features such as Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi hotspot, navigation with your choice of app, USB input, CD/DVD player, etc.”
Zuhair said that customers must do research before installing a screen. “Choose a reputable brand and an experienced installer.”
Ali al Barwani, CEO, Oman Road Safety Association, said that while apps providing real-time information or any other distractions should not be used, motorists can benefit from them in the planning stage of their journeys. “We urge motorists to gather data for their journeys before setting off. This can help them reach their destinations safely and on time.”
Regarding usage of such apps, Riyadh al Balushi, an IT expert, said, “As a matter of principle, I think it is important to remember that speed cameras are intended to encourage people to slow down and respect the laws. They are not ‘traps’ and their objective is not to fine people. If apps such as Waze can provide drivers with further warnings that encourage them to slow down further, then these apps are useful in encouraging people to slow down.”
Balushi said that the authorities can install temporary speed cameras at random locations to make sure that the list of speed cameras on Waze is not comprehensive. “This will ensure that drivers continue to respect the laws even in areas where fixed speed cameras are not listed on any of these apps.”