Motorists who double-park their cars risk having them towed away and face steep fines, a senior traffic department official said as he announced a crackdown on a practice that regularly clogs Qatar’s streets.
Brig. Mohammed Saad Al Kharji, Director of the Traffic Department, said the tough measures against drivers were already being enforced by police in certain areas as a way to improve traffic flow.
That applies to districts that suffer from particularly acute parking crunches, such as Dafna, the old downtown, Souq Waqif and the areas surrounding Doha’s shopping malls during the evenings and weekends.
Previously, drivers who parked illegally only faced fines. However, Al Kharji said that this hasn’t acted as a sufficient deterrent, and so tougher action was necessary.
Under the latest measures, illegally parked cars would be towed and the driver required to pay a release fee in addition to clearing all fines for any additional violations recorded against them. The misdemeanor will be recorded against the driver’s license for future reference, Al Kharji said.
An additional parking fee would be imposed on motorists who don’t collect their cars within 24 hours.
This is not the first time that drivers have been warned of towing, though Al Kharji’s latest statement in police magazine Al Shurta Maak (Police with You) implies that police are taking a firmer line on the issue.
“This violation is not something new, but it has increased recently by motorists who do not respect others’ rights. So we have been forced to take new actions to curb this annoying behavior,” the Peninsula quotes him as saying.
“Earlier we used to impose fines on the erring vehicles. But some people don’t care about fines. They may have the capability to pay the fine and they tend to repeat the violation.
If we tow away the car and detain it for a few hours, they may realize the seriousness and this could prevent them from repeating the violation,” he adds.
Over the past couple of years, Qatar has had to grapple with serious infrastructure issues, as the country’s population rises, and around 8,400 new vehicles a month take to the roads.
Coupled with construction in areas with empty lots that used to act as unofficial car parks, Doha faces a serious shortage of parking.
The situation prompts some to park their cars illegally, often double-parking and blocking in other drivers.
The Traffic Law (No. 5 of 2010) prohibits motorists from parking their vehicles in unauthorized places, or in a way that may create an obstacle or hindrance for other cars, and gives the traffic department the authority to tow the cars and recover transportation costs and applicable fines from violators.
While the fine imposed on a driver isn’t specified, a list of traffic violations posted by MOI show that parking-related citations carry a QR300 fine and three points on the driver’s record.
Towing double-parkers is the latest attempt by the Ministry of Interior to improve roads conditions in Qatar.
In the first month of this being introduced, 100 cars a day (the equivalent of 3,000 a month) were seized for illegal overtaking, the Traffic Department said.
And more than two years ago, the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning said it was considering a number of measures as it tried to improve congestion on Qatar’s roads.
Introducing parking charges at popular venues, building more multi-story car parks and housing people closer to their workplaces were among the proposals under consideration.
At the time, the MMUP also said it would require new buildings (for the public and private sector) to have an approved parking plan in place before commencing construction.
Would the threat of towing stop you from double-parking? Thoughts?