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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Qatar police officers to ticket bad drivers via remote surveillance

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"Smart" traffic camera surveillance
“Smart” traffic camera surveillance

Acknowledging that Qatar’s roads don’t appear to be getting any safer, the Ministry of Interior has announced a new surveillance program that enables officers to remotely ticket motorists who talk on their phones while driving, don’t buckle up and illegally overtake other vehicles.

The move comes after 31 people died on the country’s roads in January – the highest level in at least 13 months.

Under project “Talaa,” some 124 trained officers will work shifts monitoring video feedback from cameras installed on roads and highways across the country.

The officers will look for violations that “pose a threat to public safety,” including jumping signals, driving below the speed limit and other infractions.

The license plate and location of the offending vehicles will be recorded and tickets logged. Owners of the cars would receive a notification through text message about the violation, officials explained in a statement.

Safe driving

During a trial phase conducted last month, the officers apparently spotted more than 23,000 incidences of bad driving.

"Smart" traffic camera surveillance
“Smart” traffic camera surveillance

The surveillance project is being launched by the Central Operations Department (COD) of the National Command Center, in collaboration with the General Directorate of Traffic and General Directorate of Information Systems.

In the MOI’s statement, COD Assistant Director Lt. Col Hassan Mohamed Ghaith Al Kuwari said:

“This project will help reduce traffic jams and force the drivers to comply with traffic rules. It will also create a safe driving environment and provide the required data about traffic movement and areas witnessing traffic jams and accidents. The cameras will be visible for motorists.”

Other efforts

Currently, the vast majority of traffic violations on Qatar’s roads are recorded by cameras, and are for speeding.

Residents often complain that police officers here do not do enough to enforce basic traffic rules. Instead, Qatar appears to be favoring using technology to keep bad drivers in check.

Speed radar
Speed radar

For example, previously the Traffic Department has discussed installing speed radars every 2 to 4km on major roads, which would make it difficult for motorists to get away with slowing down when encountering a camera and speeding up again after passing it.

And in 2013, MOI announced that it had begun installing surveillance cameras on major roads to catch drivers who queue-jump by passing on the right.

Using the “slow” right lane to overtake vehicles in the left lane is a traffic violation punishable by a QR500 ticket, but among one of several rules flouted by motorists here.

At the time, officials said the new equipment was high-tech enough to take pictures of offending car at night, but did not say when or how many cameras were being installed.

Will the new surveillance project motivate you to drive better on Qatar’s roads? Thoughts?

73 COMMENTS

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nia
nia
6 years ago

driving “below speed limit” as in ??

Joe
Joe
6 years ago
Reply to  nia

As in, on a road with speed limit 80km/hr, you’re a traffic hazard if you’re below 50 on the slow lane (it varies though based on traffic flow… just don’t block the way)

nia
nia
6 years ago
Reply to  Joe

got it , thx

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago
Reply to  Joe

You are supposed to drive at a speed which is suitable. Considering all the idiots on the roads it is sometimes NOT safe to drive at the MAXIMUM allowed speed.

Joe
Joe
6 years ago

Didn’t say drive at maximum speed… im saying that if you’re too slow and even the trucks are faster than you, you’re an accident waiting to happen

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago
Reply to  Joe

There can be several reasons for slowing down. Technical problems, for example. You cannot punish a driver for adjusting his speed to the circumstances. This is practically illegal.

Joe
Joe
6 years ago

Not sure what circumstances you’re referring to: a car that is not capable of keeping up with traffic flow is not allowed on the roads. This is not just Qatar law – in the US some highways actually post the “speed minimum” under the speed limit as well. It’s just like stopping in the middle of the road – obstruction is a punishable violation.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago
Reply to  Joe

True, but where is the law here that defines the MINIMUM speed? Let me know, if you found it.

Joe
Joe
6 years ago

Here you go: http://www.moi.gov.qa/site/english/departments/traffic/violations/point2.doc

“Driving a vehicle at abnormal low speed that may
obstruct traffic movement without a good reason.” And this also answers your question about abnormal circumstances

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago
Reply to  Joe

“abnormal” means what??

disillusioned
disillusioned
6 years ago

Ummm, no. You can be booked pretty much anywhere for impeding the flow of traffic by driving too slowly.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago
Reply to  nia

Usually, but not in Qatar. They don’t understand the meaning of “limit”.

jliscorpio
jliscorpio
6 years ago

Reckless driving is my biggest concern in Doha. I was almost killed crossing C Ring. Truly the closest I have ever come to death in my life by a selfish, careless and reckless driver.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  jliscorpio

Get used to it

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

Average speed cameras and CCTV may help but nothing would beat the presence of a sufficient number of police cars and the sight of policemen ticketing someone at the side of the road becoming an everyday occurrence.

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

absolutely – policing by cameras hasn’t worked anywhere else (where road manners are already fundamentally better) so why should they work in this law-less place ? plus when fines are written off or written down it it the inconvenience factor and ‘shame’ of being pulled over which is more effective

kdineshl
kdineshl
6 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

Most of the LC offenders are anyway covered in black tint. not easy to spot whether they are driving while on the mobile or whether they are wearing a seat belt. How is it possible to monitor remotely then?!

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

It made wonders in Saudi arabia.. The system was so good that a lot of ppl started to burn speed cameras and traffic cameras

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Apparently with Saudis the answer to everything is violence.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

Whoopty-doo, they’ll have more ways to record tickets. So they’ll have more tickets on their lists. There are already plenty of long lists of tickets and lots of people dying. When will they do something about idiots like Mr 54940?

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Is this the LC from the picture on DN the other day?

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Haha, no. But I think it was on that article where I commented about 54940 almost killing me. I see he’s racked up a couple more violations since then. Not surprising based on how I saw him driving. Then another commenter also chimed in that he’d had a close call with this guy too.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

This guy should be charged with attempted murder. Disregard for people’s lives like that should earn him a corner in a cell.

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

naming and shaming – publish the names of each month’s 10 worst offenders in Doha News – and set a limit on points per month, which if exceed you crush their car !

FalconFlyer
FalconFlyer
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

If the authorities are serious enough, they need to deliver a serious message to all drivers on Qatar roads. Having this guy whose fines are shown above on Qatar roads is an indication of leniency and hence a go ahead for all such jerks. This guy has already earned himself 12 black points and he should be restricted from buckling up for a long time.
When a common driver like me can notice people using their phones while driving, not belting up and speeding around, why is it that the police cannot see nor do anything about this.
Fancy gadgets can just report the offence but actually taking suitable action against such offences is policing, everywhere!!! Wake up Qatar.

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
6 years ago
Reply to  FalconFlyer

guess he is not even buckling up …

jeff1234567
jeff1234567
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Another serial offender 35033

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  jeff1234567

And registration expired in ’13

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Hmm should I pay this fine or get them taken off… let me call Rashid…
Rashid I need your help, I got 50,000 riyals in fines can you take them off for me?
Rashid: Ofcourse 7abibi yalla give me 2 minutes.
Rashid do you guys have any special numbers that I can buy for 50,000?…

R. Daniel Hague
R. Daniel Hague
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Do the UAE and Qatar have shared moving vehicle violation records?

Joe
Joe
6 years ago

I hope they plan on providing these drivers with links to the CCTV footage of their driving so they can see how badly they need to wake up

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago

Technology should be there to assist them to do their job, not to do their job for them.

Norman
Norman
6 years ago

Technology and surveillance in today’s world is good, but nothing beats the “bobby on the beat” system, which is basically visible policing. If people see policemen, they tend to behave. Put physical police on major intersections and signals, and anyone trying to cut in front of others can be physically stopped. They should be made to wait for 1 hour on the side of the road, while the violation is issued, as part of punishment and embarrassment.

Bo
Bo
6 years ago

I don’t believe they’ll fine everyone according to what they see. I believe that the majority will be targeted at low-paid expats while the terrible driving of others gets brushed and given the ‘benefit of the doubt’. They’ll probably fine the sedan for not pulling behind a slow travelling bus to let the flashing land cruiser travelling twice the speed limit not break speed.

Bo
Bo
6 years ago
Reply to  Bo

And also, linked slightly… What is undertaking. On an empty 4 lane 120kmph carriageway, when the pickup in lane 3 is travelling at 80kmph, is it undertaking if you’re travelling at 100kmph in lane 1 but don’t swing out all the way to lane 4 just to get past them?

Hate the idea as I don’t think it will end up making a difference, as people continue to drive irresponsibly and unaware of these fines building up on an online account they either can’t or won’t operate. If the police did some policing and actually visited each incident I would value this a lot more as they would seriously consider the severity of each incident they find rather than looking for as many as they can in 1hr so they don’t have to do anything for the next 4hrs.

Wanderer
Wanderer
6 years ago
Reply to  Bo

I’ll bet there’s a database of “special” licence plate numbers that simply drop off the list.

Tim
Tim
6 years ago
Reply to  Bo

Yes, these camera are programmed to delete any scene where a local would violate the law. Come on who wouldn’t agree with this? They even have a special program to double the fine of the sedan for not pulling to the right to give way for landcruisers….
Anyone who agrees with you seriously has a shortage of brain cells.

Bo
Bo
6 years ago
Reply to  Tim

It’s not the camera that’s the problem. They’re not like speed cameras, as there is an operative reviewing the footage to decide on infringement. I’ve not heard of very many (if any) situations where the police are objective in there policing. They seem to be a turn a blind eye when it comes to the wealthy/influential because they might know someone who could have their job, or turn a blind eye because it’s nap time…
If they really wanted to clamp down they know the places they could go to have an impact (the pearl being one example).

And by the way, those who agree with me have the brain cells to expand a single comment and understand the premise that it was intended rather than the singular brain cell you showed by taking it literally. Well done Tim.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Another terrible idea, unaccountable people sitting in a room giving violations to unsuspecting drivers, who will not understand what it is for and many will not end up paying anway. Surprise fines are not the way to conduct effective traffic management

Why are the traffic police scared of actually doing their job in Qatar? Are they worried they might stop the ‘wrong’ Qatari and get into trouble themselves…….

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Me just saying … controlling roundabouts and the traffic in there, closing street to ease congestion in that particular area but hence creating more havoc in neighbouring areas, controlling traffic signals, not being present when there are school holidays … the list is endless 😉 again, me just saying, not complaining 🙂

Big Sumo
Big Sumo
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Yes, imagine you are young Morrocan man, flown in, bright eyes, sent to police academy, thrown in a land cruiser and start policing. I have seen with my own 2 eyes a policeman grabbed by the scruff of the neck on the side of the road. He goes back to his office, reports it to his Qatari boss, “ahh you tried to pull over Mohammed B, no no no, next time, relax, it’s OK, he knows the Emir, not worth your trouble, young man”. Camera policing is a good idea, no intimidation, no craziness, no arguments, no “let me call Mustafah, he put on you plane back to Morroco”, no “sorry my wife, she forget seat belt, are you looking at her?”, no “ahh the cheetah yes, he can drive, no he doesn’t have a license, but he becomes very aggressive when given a ticket”.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Big Sumo

Both full of it and no funny.. First they’re arent Moroccan traffic wardens two anonymous finning ppl for violations solve the above problem…

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Lol you speak as if you know this country like the back of your hand. I was fined once by a Palestinian guy who came out of a shawarma shop when I entered a no entry road next to fanar by mistake (thanks to the genius placement of no entry signs there), as I was backing up this dude full of sweat comes out of this cafeteria and fines me 500 riyals and this was in 2003. Over the years they have recruited many Pakistanis, Indians, Egyptians, Sudanese, Iranian etc… people in the MOI. So why can’t there be Moroccans? I was pulled over twice by a Pakistani Lakhwiya at check points on roundabouts as well. I don’t really know what world do you live in, are you even in Qatar?

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Big Sumo

Until they realize that Moh B was given a ticket and it… Goes away.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

It doesn’t go away – its given to other people. Like when I got 2 traffic tickets when I was not even in the country. The answer – no you pay. The cost of living in Qatar. That second bucket sure does fill up fast here.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Cerebus

I got one of those a couple yrs ago. Luckily I have a Saudi friend whose a captain and knew I was out of town the whole summer.

Think I’m filling up a third bucket.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Ask anyone who works there and the response will be simple … They’ve given up.. They simply can not keep up with the pace of violations and the overall rudeness and vulgeriousness of ppl.. They’d rather give you a ticket when you are unaware than confront you…

I’m all for this as long as they implement it in a way where I clearly understand the day, hiur, location and type of violation.. And if I ask I get to see the recording

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Yep cowards.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

That is sad, it’s easier for them to cut the dead out of cars than act as preventers.

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Prevention needs more effort.

JustMe
JustMe
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Ah, the classic dilemma of who monitors the monitors.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

They are cowards. Scared of confrontation.

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

They are not cowards, just lazy and they violate themselves.

Another Expat
Another Expat
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

If that is the case, drivers should be more careful. As far as I have observed, 50% of the times, accidents are caused by ignorant drivers who don’t understand flow of the traffic or they just love to be seen as different. What is the sense of driving at 60 kmph on a 100 kmph road in fast lane? If someone loves to do it, then he deserves to be fined as it can cause severe accidents at times….

disillusioned
disillusioned
6 years ago

Make license suspensions a serious threat. That’s the way to get people to improve their driving. The current points system is not nearly tough enough.

Teddy
Teddy
6 years ago

I’ve only been in the country for three weeks and I’ve already had an encounter with a “Land Cruiser” driver that was annoyed that I wouldn’t slam on my breaks to let him in front of me… sorry buddy… get some patience.. situation ended with him speeding up alongside me, moments later, staring at me in disbelief and threating me by driving along and swerving right and left next to my car as thought he was going to ram me… PSYCHO.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Teddy

That’s what youtube is for.

Whatever
Whatever
6 years ago
Reply to  Teddy

Sorry to hear about your experience with a LC but it does not surprise me in the least.

Expat77
Expat77
6 years ago
Reply to  Teddy

LCs are “endangering ” species in the hands of reckless drivers…Nowadays I see more locals buying Range Rovers..looks more classy and maybe avoids the stigma of LCs ..

Rapha31
Rapha31
6 years ago
Reply to  Teddy

I have encountered a lot of this guys and two of them even threatened me with deportation.

Guest
Guest
6 years ago
Reply to  Teddy

Yes, that’s logical.. deporting you is going to improve their driving..

Rapha31
Rapha31
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest

But I am deportation-proof. 🙂

Simon
Simon
6 years ago
Reply to  Teddy

Welcome to Doha, Teddy.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Teddy

Welcome to Qatar.

Rahma
Rahma
6 years ago

Genius!

Michkey
Michkey
6 years ago

The article does not say if it means taking existing number of police off the streets, which will be a real dumb policy.

Elusive Snake
Elusive Snake
6 years ago

Ok hurry up now before I get into a fatal road accident! My car was almost hit by a crazy White Nissan Patrol yesterday while he was snake driving along Al Waab Road early in the morning.

EJATDRC
EJATDRC
6 years ago

I believe having more presence of the law enforcement is
needed on the road. We need more police
cars on the road patrolling. Once the motorist
sees the police car giving tickets on the road, they will automatically slow
down.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago

– Fine according to income/assets
– Crush cars on second unpaid fine (preferably with the Emir pushing the button on national tv)
– Lock up repeat offenders
If you need any more help get back to me.

kdineshl
kdineshl
6 years ago

The officers will look for violations that “pose a threat to public safety,” including jumping signals, driving below the speed limit and other infractions.

Do we even have a rule for minimum speed limit?! Or should I read it as ‘above the speed limit’?

Expat77
Expat77
6 years ago

Dubai police has introduced a white point system to reward good driving. Hopefully after some mulling this system will be started here…

Ali
Ali
6 years ago

Trying quick fixes as everything else. This will not resolve unless they change the ecosystem and giving licences. I don’t think the driving schools have are to be fully blamed but they are a part of it. I think most bad drivers came in from UAE after 2008 recession, as I had experienced this kind of driving only in UAE. might have something to do with how drivers from UAE can just swap their licenses. But before 2008 the only threats on the roads were Land Cruisers, now it’s unpredictable.

Reem
Reem
6 years ago

This has nothing to do with traffic safety and everything to do with increased surveillance of the population under the guise of safety.

If safety were really a concern, violators would be stopped, pulled over and brought into a police station for booking. That is never done. The police are non Qataris and afraid of the local population. Every single local family have a relative in the police department. Locals would never be charged with traffic violations. Non locals may get tickets and fines, but actual enforcement is lacking for all.

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