Driving licence ban in Qatar on select jobs temporary

 22 Oct 2017 - 7:57

Driving licence ban in Qatar on select jobs temporary
Various training cars at the Gulf Driving School, yesterday. Pics: Salim Matramkot / The Peninsula

By Sidi Mohamed | The Peninsula 

Doha: People who are concerned about their ineligibility to apply for driving licence, with the  recent ban on some job categories, have a news to cheer up as the General Directorate of Traffic has said that the ban on some job categories to get licence was a  temporary measure and will be lifted once infrastructure projects are completed.

“The ban of many job categories to apply for driving license is a temporary decision and not a permanent one. It is just because that many roads are under constructions and development, so the department excluded some job categories from securing licenses, especially the categories in which cars are not necessary for their professions,” Brigadier Mohammed Saad Al Kharji, (pictured) Director of the General Directorate of Traffic told The Peninsula in an exclusive interview.

Al Kharji also added “Once the construction of roads is completed, the banned professions will be allowed to apply for driving licenses. Actually, I can’t say it was a ‘ban’ but I can say it is just temporary decision” he stressed. 

The General Directorate of Traffic at the Ministry of Interior (MoI) had banned around 180 job categories from getting driving licences.

The job categories that are barred from securing a driving licence include grocer, newspaper vendor, barber, servant, cosmetologist, security guard, porter, shepherd, butcher, tailor, goldsmith, agricultural worker, decoration technician, mining technician, beautician and mechanic etc.

To address traffic jams, a number of roads and bridges will open soon during next two months, Al Kharji said adding that “Lusail underpass and Al Rayyna bridge (near of Al Rayyan park) both will open by the end of December. This opening will contribute to reduce traffic jams. 

About the pedestrian bridges, he said that the General Directorate of Traffic is coordinating with Ashghal to allocate the spots which witness more of traffic accidents specially run-over accidents and Ashghal has started building a number of such bridges and soon will start in important areas inside Doha.

Increase in registration of new vehicles 

Al Kharji also said that the number of vehicles which have registered this year is about 100,000 vehicles, which means Qatar economy is strong and the number of investors has increased. There is direct co-relation between the number of vehicle registrations and the number of driving licenses he added. 

More than 99 percent of traffic accidents which cause serious injuries involve just one party where a driver meets accident due to careless driving and over-speeding. Vast majority of the vehicles found after accident are free of defect, Al Kharji said adding our major challenge is over-speeding. 

The accidents between two parties usually cause minor injuries and rarely lead to serious injuries or death. 

Over the department’s  efforts to reduce traffic department, he said that the department rely on awareness among motorists.  We encourage them to avoid speed, mentioning that “we should appreciate the fact that the awareness among Qatari youth has increased about the risk of traffic accidents”.

He said that the department is focussing on spreading awareness through all media specially social media so that the message can reach to every section of the society. Also the presence of police is necessary to control traffic violations, in addition to radars, especially the mobile radars, because motorists don’t know its locations so remain careful, unlike the fixed ones as people know its location and they reduce speed only when they reach near them. All these things have contributed of decreasing traffic deaths.

Number of deaths falls

The first statistics this year until now mentioned that the number of deaths due to traffic accidents in Qatar has declined compared to previous year but the next two months will be a challenge as the winter season is beginning and the movement of vehicles will increase.

Road fatalities dropped to 178 in 2016 from 227 in 2015, according to data released by the General Directorate of Traffic.

Al Kharji urged people to tell police in case they have caravans, and trailers, which they want to move if its width is more than 3.65 metre which is more than the allocated lane for every vehicle. If the size is more than a police patrol must accompany the caravan, otherwise it may cause traffic accidents. The small caravans with less width than the allocated lane is allowed but they have to take license for it. 

He also added that all the motorcycles which is more than 50cc must get a number plate and also the caravans because it is like the vehicles. There is a committee which is sent to winter campers for license and to put plate number on the caravans because the caravans can block the camera to capture the vehicle’s number in case it has committed any traffic violation.

New motorcycles can now renew their (Istimara) in the first 3 years without technical inspection The owners of new motorcycles can now renew their road permits (Istimara) in the first three years without technical inspection like the cars. Few weeks ago an official from technical inspection of the Traffic Department said that new motorcycles have to pass technical inspection every year.

Many bikers were not satisfied with that but Al Kharji said that according to the traffic law the new motorcycles is like any other new vehicle and do not need to pass technical inspection in the first three years.