Oman: Meet the 89-year-old who never got a traffic fine

Muscat - Sultan Al Ghafri claims to be the Ibri Wilayat region's oldest vehicle driver.

Photo credit: Times of Oman
Photo credit: Times of Oman

By Web Report

Published: Sun 13 Jun 2021, 3:50 PM

Last updated: Sun 13 Jun 2021, 4:00 PM

An 89-year-old man in Oman’s Ibri Wilayat region says he has never received a traffic fine in all his years of driving.

According to the Times of Oman, Sultan Al Ghafri credits the laurel to strictly adhering to the rules of the road.

Born on New Year’s Day in 1932, Al Ghafri bought his first vehicle at the age of 38 from one of his brothers.

“It was a 1968 model Jeep, for which I paid OMR600, knowing full well it was a used car,” he recalled. “The car was large… it could accommodate as many as 11 people. It didn’t have the maximum speeds of cars today. Its top speed was 120 kmph.”

This was momentous not just for him but for his entire community, as it meant that he could now drive them anywhere they needed to go, especially during emergencies. “Whether it was the market, the hospital, or anywhere else they wanted, I could now take them,” he said.

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Despite buying his first car in 1970 and teaching himself to drive, Al Ghafri only got an official driver’s license from the Directorate General of Traffic in Muscat two years later.

He has since used his car to meet personal needs, and even offer rides to those who wished to travel outside the country. “I would make trips to three cities in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Al Ain... My speed did not exceed 60 kmph – and this has seen me not pick up any traffic fines so far.”

His experiences include both “sweet and bitter” moments and he recalls the time he stepped in to try and get a woman in labour to a hospital in time. “However, the distance to the hospital and the condition of the unpaved roads meant it would take time to get there, so she ultimately gave birth in the car.”

His advice to fellow motorists is simple: follow the rules of the road. “This will really help you, particularly when you stick to speed limits, and avoid using the phone will driving,” he said.

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