In a bid to get more people to pay off long-standing traffic violations, Qatar’s Ministry of Interior has announced a new 50 percent off discount for any fines incurred before Dec. 31, 2015.
In a statement on Facebook, the MOI said the half-off offer would be in place for three months, from Jan. 8 to April 7, 2016.
The discount covers all traffic violations, including those incurred by radar, violations doled out by police and vehicle impounding.
Time to collect
The offer comes as the number of traffic violations recorded in Qatar soars, exceeding 1.5 million from January to November 2015 alone, according to the most recently available government figures.
Qatar historically has had issues collecting fines, especially from those who don’t live in the country.
In 2013 for example, the government offered a half-off discount to 42 Saudi motorists who had incurred some QR2.7 million in unpaid traffic fines for more than 5,000 violations.
In a statement this week, the MOI said of the new discount offer:
“People can take advantage of this opportunity to settle their traffic fines either through MOI e-channels such as MOI web portal, Metrash2 mobile app and Self-Service Kiosks as wells as traffic service counters spread across the country.
This opportunity is given for the public to correct their traffic status file and settle all the fines and to apply the strict implementation of traffic laws and regulations with recent change and amendments in traffic law.”
However, some residents who had already settled their violations a timely manner expressed dismay on Facebook about the deal, with one saying, “Yesterday I paid a full amount of 500. Feeling sad. Should have waited.”
New traffic law
New legislation regarding traffic violations came into effect on Dec. 31, 2015.
Law No. 16 of 2015, which updated traffic law No. 19 of 2007, was approved by the Emir in August and makes it more expensive for motorists who are found illegally overtaking cars from the right lane and parking in spaces reserved for people with special needs.
These violators now incur fines of QR1,000 instead of QR500, and repeat offenders could face jail terms.
Additionally, under the new traffic law, 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.
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.
The new legislation also gives motorists who have been fined for violating the traffic laws a 50 percent reduction on most offenses if they pay within 30 days of incurring the infraction.
However, there is no discount for those who have been caught overtaking on the right, driving overweight trucks or parking in a space designated for those with special needs.
Reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol and fleeing the scene after causing an accident are other violations that cannot be discounted.