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Qatar set to increase penalty for using phone when driving

Traffic Police Chief, Brig. Mohammed Saad al Khaarji, announced that plans are on to increase penalty for Qatar motorists using their phones when driving. This is because a QR500 fine is not high enough to deter Qatar’s motorists from using their phones when driving, and such an increase will make drivers take the offense more seriously. However, he did not mention how much the fee would be increased.

At present, motorists are charged a fine of QR500 for using or holding a mobile phone or other device when driving, or if they get busy watching any visual object from a television set in the vehicle.

However, earlier a police officer had mentioned that it is agreeable to use a phone if your vehicle has come to a complete stop at a red traffic light. But, if the car is moving or waiting to cross a roundabout, or an intersection without a signal, then even holding a phone is a traffic violation.

Using a phone when driving, has been a widespread problem in Qatar’s roads for years now. However, officials say that motorists are now no longer texting or talking so much after imposing penalties. But, people still continue taking selfies and using social media when driving, and these have led to 80 percent of major accidents in Qatar in the year 2015.

A better enforcement, however, has led to overall decline in number of traffic accidents and deaths last year. But, people still appear to be distracted due to phone when driving.

During a recent MOI survey, it was found that 94 percent of the people who were polled online were worried about mobile usage when driving.

Posted on 22/2/2017

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