Kirkus Books Reviews – Being The Safe Driver!
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BEING THE SAFE DRIVER!
Behind The Wheel! The New Road Safety Novel!
Al Suleimany, Majid
CreateSpace (448 pp.)
ISBN: 978-1481843034; February 2, 2013
A heartfelt, enthusiastic series of instructions and warnings about road safety.
Al Suleimany, a columnist for the Oman Daily Observer, observes that the Sultanate of Oman has one of the highest motorist casualty rates in the world, and he sets out in this book (not actually a novel, but rather a collection of dramatic real-life incidents) to raise Omani awareness of the causes—and results—of carelessness on the country’s roadways.
The book shows endorsements by HM Sultan Qaboos bin Said (who, like many Omanis, has himself been involved in accidents prevention campaigns), including the Omani Grand Mufti and the Royal Omani Police.
Al Suleimany stresses that the dangers involved are communal: “There can be no Omani in the Sultanate who has not been touched closely by a road death and yet we see dangerous driving every time we travel the roads.” As a newspaperman, Al Suleimany highlights printed accident reports: “Every day we see also in the newspapers about road casualty figures in the newspapers—but as usual in the coming story we never imagine or visualize that it could be someone we know well or related to.”
The work shows examples of motorists making bad or careless choices (it’s also full of accident photos and emotional reminders of the loved ones left behind when a driver dies or kills someone). The author points out several underlying causes of all this tragedy: Oman as a culture is new to driving; it has been “thrust into the 21st century in a matter of a few decades”; and Oman has newly prosperous youth who prize fast cars over safety. The author attempts to prevent new-driver heedlessness by underscoring the personal tragedies that can result from reckless driving. Al Suleimany issues stern warnings about the high cost of irresponsibility, and although a good deal of the book is Oman-specific, many of those warnings have global applications.
A detailed, compassionate call for greater motorist responsibility in Oman.
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