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Socio-cultural influences on vehicle defects in the Omani heavy vehicle industry

Al-Bulushi, I, Edwards, J, Davey, J, Armstrong, K, Al-Mamiri, A, Al-Shamsi, K (Peer reviewed)

Heavy Vehicles

ARSC conference 2015

With recent economic growth in Oman there is increased use of heavy vehicles, presenting an increase in heavy vehicle crashes and associated fatalities and injuries. Vehicle defects cause a significant number of heavy vehicle crashes in Oman and increase the likelihood of fatalities. The aim of this study is to explore factors contributing to driving with vehicle defects in the Omani heavy vehicle industry. A series of qualitative observations and interviews were conducted in Oman with 47 drivers. The observations and interviews occurred in two road-side locations where heavy vehicle drivers gather. Data collection was conducted over a three week period. The data was analysed using thematic analysis. A broad number of factors were identified as contributing to the driving of vehicles with defects. Participants indicated that vehicle mechanical faults were a common issue in the heavy vehicle industry. The companies the participants worked for were reported to use cheaper poor quality parts and conducted minimal maintenance. Drivers also indicated that they felt powerless to resist company pressure to drive vehicles with known faults. Traffic police were argued to lack sufficient knowledge of trucks to conduct thorough inspection. Further, it was stated that it was possible to avoid being fined during a vehicle inspection if members of the company know the traffic police officer conducting the inspection. Further, fines are directed to the individual driver rather than being applied to the company, thus providing no incentive for companies to address vehicle faults. The implication of the finding discussed