Making good on a pledge to come down harder on motorists who illegally pass cars via right-turn lanes or shoulders, a senior traffic official has said up to 100 vehicles a day are being seized for this offense.
That works out to nearly 3,000 cars since the Ministry of Interior (MOI) announced its crackdown on this dangerous practice last month.
Brig. Mohamed Saad Al Kharji, director general of the Traffic Department, confirmed the figure during an interview with Al Watan, which was also reported in Qatar Tribune.
He also announced that from next year, speed radars would be installed every 2km on key roads in a bid to reduce the number of fatal traffic accidents.
Passing on the right
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.
Using the “slow” right lane to overtake vehicles in the left lane is already a traffic violation punishable by a QR500 ticket.
But in June, the Traffic Department announced that motorists who try to illegally pass cars in roundabouts and intersections from the right lane also risk having their cars impounded for up to one month.
Months before that, in September, the Traffic Department announced it had set up high-tech surveillance cameras on major roads to catch drivers who cut in from the right-hand slow lane.
The number of patrols on the roads that monitor drivers’ actions has also increased from 17 to 40, Al Kharji said.
And in a general bid to bring down bad driving practices, unmarked patrols were introduced last month in key problem spots – including in Al Waab, the Expressway and C-Ring Road – to write up motorists who break the law.
More speed radars
Speeding is also an issue in some parts of Qatar, with Al Kharji saying that 95 percent of all fatal accidents here are caused by people driving too fast.
More people than before have been caught speeding recently – in excess of 87,000 in May, which was a jump of more than 13 percent for April, according to the latest government figures.
Al Kharji said that more radars would be installed next year to help catch those who speed, as well as motorists who drive too slowly – less than 40kmph – in the fast (left) lane.
The increased number of speed cameras was first announced in March this year, but at that time was no timeline was given for when they would be installed.
More people, more cars
In his interview, Al Khaji said that there were now 1 million cars on Qatar’s roads. With Qatar’s population now at nearly 2.2 million, that’s nearly one car for every two people in the country.
And the figure continues to rise, with around 9,000 new vehicles registered monthly, according to figures from the Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics.
Last year, the statistics authority predicted that Qatar’s population could hit 2.4 million by 2015.
While the roads have been quieter recently as lots of people have left town for the summer, Qatar’s population usually spikes in September as residents return and a wave of new expats arrive.