Though it is illegal in Qatar to text or make phones calls while driving, mobile phone usage remains one of the top causes of road accidents here.
The violation is punishable by a QR500 fine, but in the past, Qatar officials have attempted to use warnings and educational campaigns to change habits, instead of writing up motorists.
To raise awareness about the ongoing problem, the Ministry of Interior is now asking residents to pledge to cease talking and sending messages on their phones while driving.
In a Facebook post that has gotten more than 1,000 likes since Sunday, MOI said:
“The statistics in all countries of the world have proven that the most serious accidents occur in a fraction of a second due to loss of concentration and the drivers lose their concentration at the moment of using the mobile phone while driving. Many lives were lost and some were exposed to total or partial disability due to using phone while driving.
Hence, make it your habit not to use mobile while driving. In case if you are compelled to make or receive any emergency call, stop your vehicle nearest available parking and make the call… How many of us can pledge that we won’t use mobile while driving?”
This is not the first time the government has urged residents to reconsider their unsafe driving habits.
Last year, MOI rolled out the One Second road safety campaign, saying that’s how long it takes to change a life forever.
According to the campaign literature, you are four times more likely to crash if using a mobile phone while driving, and reaction times are 50 percent slower while using your phone than while driving normally.
In addition to seeking promises to hang up and drive, MOI also invited discussion on the subject.
Some commenters on Facebook urged traffic police to step up enforcement and issue more fines to drivers on their phones. Others suggested motorists use handsfree bluetooth sets, or cell phone jamming technology while on the road.
What are your thoughts?
Can we also pledge MOI to enforce traffic policemen not to take away fines from those friends and families they know, so that finally those violating the rule will be hit in their pockets and maybe some will start learning?
How about the MOI pledge for the traffic police to enforce the law like they are paid to do??? What is the point of having a law which is not enforced. The majority just laugh at the traffic law in Qatar as they know nothing will happen. Consequences for actions is such a foreign concept here. Awareness campaigns have there place but clearly simply don’t work on there own here in Qatar. Enforcement is needed, across the board regardless of the wasta level or as I like to call it corruption level. Otherwise people will continue on as they are now and will continue to die in car accidents. Also anyone seen the highly publicised ‘Highway Patrol’ that was supposed to have been out enforcing law as of January this year?
Qatar is a country where appearances and words are much more important than actions. Who cares about actual results, as long as you look good doing it, sound good doing it, get a signed and stamped certificate for it, and have large bouquets of flowers around you when you receive that certificate. Until that changes, all you’ll see on the road is awareness campaigns, because at least it looks like they’re doing something. I would expect the next “pledge” campaign will be for kids in thier proper carseats. But no one will get pulled over for speeding, texting, aggressive driving, or letting their kids treat the interior of a moving car like a McDonald’s playground. Pulling someone over and giving them valuable instant feedback sullies their public appearance, so it won’t be done. That mindset has to change or people will continue to die. Disregarding their words and judging strictly by action, all Qatar’s government wants out of its police force is to ensure streets are clear for the VIPs when they get driven around. Makes me wonder what kinds of lessons the new police academy recruits are currently being taught: “How to dominate at Candy Crush while killing the hours until we have to block this intersection off again” is probably pretty early in the curriculum?
You are absolutely correct. Far too many people on the roads here have an inherently selfish, arrogant and entitled mindset and a ‘no-one else matters but me’ attitude. And let’s face it, if they don’t even care for the safety of their own children, which seems to be the case judging by the number seen bouncing around in cars, then they are going to have absolutely no concern whatsoever for anyone else’s safety. I despair of what I see on the roads here and the complete inaction of anyone in authority to tackle the issue properly, but sadly I am also resigned to the fact that the situation will probably take many years, if not decades, to change for the better.
Well said, but what they don’t get is that their homicidal driving behaviour sullies their reputation and the reputation of Qatar. The country needs to grow up, take responsibility and reel in the death toll on the roads.
Well I see a patrol every other day in my daily commute to the north and it has made a difference on the roads. Unfortunately, this is again a let’s bash Qatar and state how much we hate it here type of thing so enjoy the rest of the comments. All aboard the bandwagon!
This country has the higest RTA statistics and fatalities per capita in the world , it deserves bashing as people die needlessly every single day and it could be YOU !
Is it still considered “bandwagon Qatar bashing” when the complaints are legitimate?
No this is about saving peoples lives, simple as that.
Complete waste of time unless it is enforced. How often do we see a car being pulled over?
With all the money being spent in this country, how about they up their policing budget and get many more of them on the street to start enforcing the laws a little more.
Never mind asking the police to enforce the rules, could we just start by asking the police to abide by them. That would be a great start as some of the worst driving I see comes from them!
If I were to receive a penny for every time i see drivers using mobile phones while driving .. I’d be a Billionaire.
Clearly, QAR500 is a meaningless sum to many violators of this excellent law because income levels vary so wildly in Qatar. In many countries it can be assesed as punitive based on national average income. That is not appropriate here, where QAR500 is for a substantial swathe of the working population from 10-25% of income. Perhaps instead enforce a fine based on a percentage of salary for all. Much fairer system and actually makes an impact. Those earning QAR50k a month might think twice if they had a fine of 10% i.e. QAR5,000 rather than less than less than 1%.
Sounds draconian, but the death toll is incredible here, compounded by aggressive driving and refusal to wear seatbelts.
It used to be bad enough when you saw drivers talking on their phone with one hand while driving on the other. Now it’s not uncommon to see drivers typing messages while driving, checking Facebook while driving and watching videos while driving.
And the response to these dangerous driving practices is for the MoI to ask us to promise not to be naughty? It would be funny if it weren’t a matter of life and death.
I saw a local driving in the fast lane along Al Wabb street whilst talking on one phone, texting on his other and steering with his elbow, all whilst doing about 120kph.
I guess his karak was in the cupholder at that point?
His karak was on the seat, but the substance that comes out of his karack had made its way into his skull and pushed out his brain obviously!
Just a thought..are the police going to pledge not to use their mobile phones whilst driving? No, ohh what a surprise.
Old bill break the rules as much as everyone else.
It was refreshing to see the Traffic Police busy recently handing out parking tickets to vehicles parking outside the marked bays or on wide areas of paving at Villagio. Whilst not parked properly, I would have thought that this was a private matter for Villagio to sort out rather than the National Police Force. None of the vehicles I saw being ticketed were causing an obstruction to other vehicles or pedestrians. Would these resources not be better employed on the highways and leave parking tickets to Villagio’s security force?
Its simple my man, parking tickets are given when no person is around, they are cowards who cant face up to confronting a wrongdoer, so rather then intercept someone who si going to kill someone, they choose to give out parking tickets to cars without humans inside. Simply put , cowards with no integrity. how they will ever control the masses (if they do indeed come) in 2022 is beyond comprehension.
You’re right about cowards. I was walking to work one day last winter when a group of them wanted to clear the road for someone much more important than me (this practice is a HUGE pet peeve of mine). To do this they were trying to clear the sidewalk as well, telling pedestrians to turn down a side road to avoid them walking along the side of the road they were clearing. It would be one thing if it was an alternate route, but it was a dead end street. The officer was screaming at everyone in Arabic, doing his best to sound really menacing. Probably against better judgment, I kept walking. My rationale at the time was that I had headphones on, the officer was still a distance away, I could always plead that I don’t speak Arabic (I don’t), his instructions weren’t in English or Spanish, and a nagging part of my brain wanted to see what would happen. So I kept walking, and by then I was walking alone down the sidewalk. It sounded like his yelling was now directed at me, still in Arabic, but I didn’t turn my head or make any indication that I had heard or understood him. I figured there was no way he was going to use the fake looking gun he was holding to shoot a white-collar expat in the back, and decided that the worst he could do was chase me down and yell at me in broken English, at which point I’d plead ignorance. When I was about halfway down the block the super important people whizzed by in their motorcade. I then turned my head and noticed out of the corner of my eye that he was glaring at me as he let people start walking again. (The part of me that now felt emboldened made me want to whip out my phone and start taking photos of the motorcade, but I ultimately didn’t want to push my luck.) Before everyone jumps on me for disobeying the officer, let me say that I probably shouldn’t have kept walking and I know that. But it was an interesting experiment to see if they would single me out and confront me. Of course they didn’t. And they definitely wouldn’t for a national. I see them everyday sitting there near that same intersection while drivers commit atrocious acts of endangerment to themselves, other drivers, and pedestrians (like me) and the officers don’t lift a finger. So all that to say that I agree with you, they’re the ultimate cowards when it comes to confrontation.
Almost all of my friends and colleagues have cars with Bluetooth capability, yet I’m the only one out of all of us who seems to be able to summon the intellectual capacity to connect my phone through it.
I suspect there are many others..
“Though it is illegal in Qatar to text or make phones calls while driving” – DN: Are you sure that statement is correct? I thought only hand-held calling and texting was illegal?
wrong picture,he should be wearing the thob
Offer free device pairing with every new car purchase for a start. Most of them have BT now anyway. As a parent I get soooo angry at seeing kids in the front. Even this morning at the lights by Renaissance I counted 3 kids in the front seat and the mom on the phone, lane weaving. Don’t play the “It’s our culture” card either. Children without restraint equal dead children sooner or later. It’s that simple, whatever country you reside in. I just hate the fact that my life on the road and that of innocent others is subject to the momentary stupidity of a texter. Nothing I can do about it of course, just believe that one day, deaths due to drivers neglience in Qatar will be addressed with the proper seriousness it deserves.
Thats true actually.
Kids jumping all over the car with no seatbelts is far more dangerous than using your phone. Would be far better to campaign for that.
“In many places, speeding ticket fines are based on variables like how fast you were going and how many previous offenses you’ve committed. Finland is taking a different tack, however. Fees for speeding are no longer a set number but based on a sliding scale according to the offender’s income. Previously, police had to rely on offenders to give them an honest answer about their gross salaries, but now they can tap directly into the national tax system to see what people make.”
When I arrived in Qatar the message I received, many times over, was that it is not a matter of IF you will have an accident. But WHEN. I’ve been white-knuckling it ever since.
“…Ministry of Interior is now ASKING residents to pledge to cease talking and sending messages on their phones while driving.”
Completely ineffective: much like the Ministry of Agriculture ASKING cows to stop far+ing
As I drove into the underground carpark through the entrance yesterday a police car came straight at me exiting through a clearly signposted no entry sign …. there is no hope
A novel new idea for Qatari police…The honor system. LOL
If they were serious about stopping such practices, here’s what I think they should do. Ask a Western country with good policing (Australia, UK, Germany, Canada) for 20 of their highway patrol staff. Bring those officers over here, and give them complete authority to enforce the traffic laws. Let them loose on the Qatari roads, where they can pull over and ticket anyone they see violating the laws and impound cars as needed. The amount to bring these people over will fully be covered by the traffic fines. After a few months, we would surely see a marked difference on how people in this country drive.
But we all know that this will never happen, simply because the authorities just don’t care and are not serious about traffic law enforcement. Meanwhile, people continue to die.
As a new resident of Qatar I too have been horrified by some of the driving from ALL nationalities. Whats worse is I now find myself developing these bad habits as it is the social norm! Equal opportunity Enforcement is the only answer, seeing police committing the same offences is simply not acceptable!
Perhaps some shock tactics are needed. The UK did the following ad and I think it says all that needs to be said.
Now imagine the scene with a 3 tonne land cruiser vs a 1 tonne Ford Ka
When did we last see a story like this in Doha…….
Pledging to the public not to use mobile phones when driving is useless while your Police Force are using them in uniforms and inside Police patrol cars. I have seen several times Police Traffic or all Police forces using mobile phones while driving or while they are on duty. If you want proof please drive to Haloul Roundabout ( between Mesaemeer road and Haloul st.) you will see one or both policemen using their mobiles sitting in the comfort of their patrol car.They are supposed to watch or patrol the streets specially the roundabout. Go and check randomly and say ” You are a stupid lier.” if I am wrorng.I always see some police men smoking inside the patrol car while driving.
Some people always feel safe when they are using a pair of headset to talk with their contact while driving. I would like to remind them that they are driving in almost soundproofed( to check please open only drivers window and you will hear a lot of noise) vehicle and receiving live voice feedback from the contact will make them totally distracted and unresponsive to outside world. They never know what news they are going to hear, even good news are major drivers distraction. It includes blutooth wireless head set. Please don’t use them. You may cause accident and kill somebody or kill yourself or you will become cause of accident.