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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Qatar Emir approves updated traffic law with new stiffer penalties

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Motorists in Qatar will soon face stricter repercussions for certain traffic violations after the nation’s Emir signed off on amendments to the country’s traffic law yesterday.

Law No. 16 of 2015, which updates the existing traffic law No. 19 of 2007, doubles fines for illegally overtaking cars from the right lane and parking in spaces reserved for people with special needs.

Effective three months after it is published in the Ministry of Justice’s Official Gazette, the updated law is expected to come into force late this year or early 2016.

What’s changed

Previously, motorists caught wrongly overtaking on the right and illegally parking in spots for disabled people faced fines of QR500. They could also be given three points on their license.

A driver who racks up 14 points will have their license suspended, the Ministry of Interior has previously said.

Under the updated law, the fines for these offenses have been increased to QR1,000, while repeat offenders could face a jail term, the Peninsula reports.

QNA announced the Emir’s ratification of the amended law yesterday, but did not give any details of the changes. However, the full text of the new law was published in full in Al Sharq.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Penalties for speeding will be imposed depending on how far over the prescribed speed limit the driver is found to be.

Motorists who exceed the limit by up to 30kph face one point, while drivers speeding in excess of 40, 50 and 60kph over the limit will incur two, three or four points respectively, according to Qatar Tribune.

The fines for speeding remain the same, with motorists facing QR500 citations plus an additional QR100 for every 10kph they are above the speed limit, up to a maximum of QR1,000.

Additionally, under the provisions of the updated law, drivers whose cars have been impounded by the Ministry of Interior’s Traffic Department for illegal maneuvers must claim their vehicles within three months, or they will be put up for public auction.

Previously, they had six months to pay off their fines and the costs accrued and reclaim their vehicle, the Peninsula adds.

The amended law also states that vehicles with sale advertisements that are parked in a public area without prior approval could be seized. Enforcement of this violation will become the sole responsibility of the traffic department, where previously the municipality also played a role.

Enforcement issues

With thousands of new vehicles joining Qatar’s roads each month, managing the state’s traffic is a key challenge for the authorities.

Several measures have been rolled out to catch and ticket badly behaved drivers, many of them involving the use of technology.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

However, with the number of traffic violations falling while the road accident figures soar, questions remain about the effectiveness of monitoring motorists.

Official figures for violations recorded this June showed that there were 165,000 citations – down nearly 24 percent from last June – and fewer tickets were issued for nearly every category of violation.

Meanwhile, the number of vehicle accidents for the same months rose sharply, from 29,000 last June to 44,000 in June this year.

Last June, traffic police in unmarked cars started patrolling hot spots including the Al Shamal Road and Expressway, Al Waab Street and C-Ring Road to encourage more drivers to follow the rules of the road.

This was extended to other problem areas in Doha earlier this year, with the vehicles equipped cars with cameras to record violations such as using mobile phones while driving, not buckling up, throwing trash from cars and seating children under the age of 10 years old in the front seats of the car.

Tow-truck
Tow-truck

And last August, in response to a rising number of complaints about illegally parked cars and as Doha faces a parking crunch, the MOI began towing the errant vehicles.

Meanwhile, the traffic department has also been cracking down on illegal overtaking in the right “slow lane,” at intersections and roundabouts, and warned drivers that those caught would have their vehicles towed away.

Passing on the right is a common practice, but can be dangerous, as motorists who try to queue skip must cut in front of other cars in junctions and roundabouts at the last minute.

Finally, more recently, traffic officials have said they are upgrading the technology in cameras installed at traffic intersections to detect vehicles that tail-gate as well as those turning left while in go-straight lanes, in addition to speeding offenses.

Thoughts?

28 COMMENTS

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John Doe
John Doe
6 years ago

I still haven’t got the idea of overtaking from right. If i am in the right most lane and driving on a speed of 80 kph while the person in the middle lane is at 60, would it be considered as an offense? or its for those people who do it to get pass by the traffic light and skipping a long queue?

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  John Doe

You’re American? It is not used there but in a lot of countries this is a rule. You don’t allow people to pass/overtake in the blind spot. Basically if one person is slow everyone is slow. The solution is to also penalize people who drive too slow in the overtaking lane.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Its a law in America, Europe, Asia. Nothing new. When in heavy traffic, such as what is described above, where a lane change would disrupt the flow the rule is flexible. Its the passing on the right with intent to overtake that is illegal.

Karam Bouini
Karam Bouini
6 years ago
Reply to  John Doe

I believe they are talking about going from left lane to the extreme right lane to overtake. . Not if u r not changing lanes..

Dorian gray
Dorian gray
6 years ago

I think in theory you could be fined. But the issue are the lane joggers who refuse to pull in when they have completed an overtaking manoeuvre.
The inside lane is for driving. The others are for overtaking. Once your manoeuvre is complete, all vehicles should return to the inside lane when safe to do so.

I travel about 80km north of doha everyday and on a dual carriageway most people can understand this. But when there are 3 or more lanes then people forget about common sense. There is a ridiculously high risk of being involved in an accident on a 4 lane carriageway here in qatar with only 2 cars on the road. Put 3 or four and a junction in the mix…hold your breath.

Karam Bouini
Karam Bouini
6 years ago
Reply to  Dorian gray

I completely agree, this is infact the common thing in Doha, and if you flash the while they drive at 40 in 80 road, they actually look at you trying to figure out what they did wrong, i totally agree with this law, but i would also encuarage MOI to issue some rules for speed lane beeing mess used, also to be slightly strict with issuing licenses for private drivers who care about no one in the road when they are not driving their cars.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Here we go again round and round the roundabout

AEC
AEC
6 years ago

Just checked the MOI for the number plate of the lunatic in the landcruiser who went past me at speed yesterday – 45 violations in the last year. I fail to see how this change will make any difference to this person at all – or the many others who drive with equal levels of idiocy and never seem to face any real penalty. In many countries you see bad driving. It is hard to understand the behaviour of some of the idiots in Qatar – are they bored, deluded, suicidal or all three?

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

I’m not a psychologist, but it seems that many of those said drivers drive just like a shark swim, with the constant need to be in a forward motion to pass water over their gills or the shark will no be able to breathe.

But seriously though, when you consider how things used to be just 15-20 years ago, maybe you’ll see how the changes that took place makes it difficult to adjust for some people. From overall light traffic to the horror we now have; from parking being easily found everywhere, to the nightmare we have today.

Plus, there’s a certain characteristic of rural culture is the resistance to man made rules. And hey, once you learn you can get away with it… 😉

Bajn
Bajn
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Ha ha

Anon
Anon
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Absurd religious beliefs contribute, the idea that whatever happens to you on the road is ‘allah’s will’ is the easiest self-appointed pass-card for people who want to drive like twats without any consideration for others. Of course they won’t ever get to see their imaginary omnipotent sidekick, but their delusions are a constant danger to others. Religion poisons everything. Yet another clear example.

O
O
6 years ago

Seat back, relax, watch and see!!! I’ll just wait….

Pete P
Pete P
6 years ago

The problem in Qatar is a lack of enforcement of the law. So making the punishment stricter won’t make any difference

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago

Translation. I will have even more fines added to my number plate at registration time from other violators thanks to Wasta. Last year I was given 2 violations from someone else, in a part of town I have never been, while my car was parked at the airport and I was 5000 miles away. No matter that they could easily look up my ins and outs or that my car was in the car park at the airport at the time….nope, I had to admit guilt and pay the fines or not get my car registered. Higher fines + points = more of this to deal with. I <3 Qatar.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  Cerebus

What kind of violation was it?
The way some violations here are handled questionable.

Violations should be either recorded on street cameras or written up by an officer handing it to you personally or in cases of parked cars violation on the windshield AND the officer taking a photo for the records. Otherwise the police make a a typo when recording the license plate it is hard of not impossible to contest it depending on the violation type.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  Misha

These were speeding camera violations. 2 in total. Each one 700 QR. I was given a printout with my number plate and a fine, nothing else. I asked to see the images, they refused, I asked to contest, was told they would impound my car. Basically, I was dealing with a corrupt officer that was taking someone else’s fines and adding them to my record. Its this kind of thing that just ruins the image of this place.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  Cerebus

First I heard of that, that’s terrible especially when there is no official appeal process officers can take advantage of it.

Blue
Blue
6 years ago
Reply to  Cerebus

You are lucky, they at least informed you. They registered my objection, was happy when I got that message, couple of days after, message to impound the car. Should have just accepted the QAR 500 fine quietly.

The only way things can change is to have expeirienced expats from developed countries run the traffic department. Training, awareness sessions and finally enforcement.

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago

I have twice recently been violently horned by local gentlemen in LCs for going too slowly in the inside lane and not tailgating the person in front …. With complete and utter idiocy like this no laws will ever make a difference unless you enforce without fear or favour. Drivers in Doha are without a doubt the worst in the 20 or so countries I’ve visited. It is shameful, dangerous and a truly horrific disregard for fellow humans. The solution is so easy and a law regarding handicapped parking space is not exactly a priority.

Yousef
Yousef
6 years ago

ENFORCEMENT without PREJUDICE is the ONLY WAY A LAW WORK …Mr EMIR.

allowing the ONE THOUSAND cousins of the “Royal Family” to get a FREE pass does NOT make the law fair ~

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

A waste of newsprint and server space. Nothing will change.

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

agreed – there is no social stigma to bad driving in Qatar and no credible and equally enforced laws

Dominic James
Dominic James
6 years ago

The main issue here is that some people don’t even know their left and right while driving. I will suggest that officers educate drivers how to drive safely mostly at the R/about and rules that guide it i noticed that a lot of people don’t have any idea about on how pull out at R/about and priorities to the other cars. I always encounter this problem at R/about.

AKA
AKA
6 years ago

It’s all fine and dandy and I really hope they finally accomplish some kind of change ( won’t hold my breath as nothing has happened yet) but one can hope. What really needs a good looking into and needs to be enforced ASAP is texting and driving. I can’t tell you how many people are still doing it regardless of how many accidents it causes. In fact, just 2 weeks ago my husband was hit from behind with no breaks used by the car behind him because the guy was using his phone and not paying attention to the cars in front of him slowing down to drive over the speed bumps. Something has to happen. More fines at higher prices, under cover cops, whatever, but something. Come on!

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

Yawn….. nothing will change…just words on a piece of paper signed by the Emir, nothing more, no action will be taken.

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
6 years ago

44,000 vehicle accidents in June! No wonder the police are not issuing as many tickets. They are spending all their time on end result of a poor driving culture.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

Its crazy right! This means that if there are 2.2 million people in Qatar, and lets say that 1/3 of them have a drivers license, that 6% of the driving population was in a traffic accident in one month. This means that throughout the year, 72% of the driving public would have been involved in some type of accident. We can likely drop it to 50% as there are repeat offenders, and then some again, as some of these are dings and scrapes from parking lots etc…..but still this is just crazy! Its like real life Mario Carts out there.

Anon
Anon
6 years ago

Note, ‘Motorists in Qatar’, not ‘Qatari motorists’…….very different situations.

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