Discounts on seatbelt violations have been introduced, but fines for mobile phone usage behind the wheel will remain unchanged, says Captain Mohamed Rabia Al-Kuwari.
Drivers fined for using mobile phones while behind the wheel will not be provided a half price discount to pay for the violation, authorities in Qatar confirmed, in the latest crackdown on reckless driving.
Speaking to Qatar Radio, Captain Mohamed Rabia Al-Kuwari, Officer of the Violations Department at the General Directorate of Traffic, confirmed the fine will stand at a one-time payment of QAR 500 with no discounts given for early payments, as is the case with other violations.
The official said an alarming “50 to 60% of traffic accidents occur due to mobile phone usage and lack of seatbelt compliance.”
Despite the strict ruling on phone usage, the official said a 50% reduction would be applicable on penalties for not wearing a seatbelt, provided the fine is settled within 30 days.
The comments came as Qatar rolled out a new unified radar system that is capable of detecting three types of violations simultaneously: lack of seatbelt use, mobile phone use, and speeding.
Authorities previously clarified that interacting with mounted mobile phones or dashboard monitors will be considered a violation, as per traffic laws.
Al-Kuwari said motorists can contest any issued violations through the Metrash 2 app or the Ministry of Interior’s website. The appeal will receive a response within a week, following a review by those overseeing the unified radar system.
He also revealed that images of violators will be made available on the Metrash 2 app, stating that the new radar technology can even distinguish between a seatbelt and clothing of the same colour.
These images can be lightened or darkened for clarity.
He said “traffic safety is a collective societal responsibility,” and urged the community to follow the law to safeguard lives and property.
Qatari authorities have heightened efforts to stamp out road death injuries and deaths in recent years.
According to the Planning Statistics Authority, 14 deaths were reported throughout the month of June – down from 20 deaths in the previous month. Some 23 major, 582 minor and 13,850 simple accidents were also reported in the same month.
The same month saw 138,766 speeding violations recorded, amounting to 75% of all road violations.