Traffic cameras at junctions across the country are now issuing tickets for more than just speeding and running red lights.
According to the Ministry of Interior (MOI), the cameras are recording hundreds of violations for cutting people off, changing lanes in intersections and stopping in the middle of a junction.
Qatar authorities have been talking about rolling out such a feature for months, but appear to have never actually fined violators until now.
Overtaking on the right is a common practice, but can be dangerous, as motorists who try to queue-jump must cut in front of other cars in junctions and roundabouts at the last minute.
In a statement on Facebook, the MOI said:
“From now there is no need to make the presence of traffic police or patrols to monitor the violations. More than 600 violations of overtaking through right side, changing lanes in intersections and stopping in yellow box were registered up to now.
Hence we urge all motorists to strictly abide by the traffic regulations for your safety and to avoid getting fined.”
However, some consultants argue that the presence of traffic police does more to stop violators than cameras do.
Last year, Roger Taylor, a defensive driving specialist in Ras Laffan, said motorists often behave when they see a camera, but return to their regular behavior (for example speeding) once they’re out of range of the device.
Taylor said the sight of police officers stopping motorists and handing out tickets would be a much more effective deterrent:
“If someone is being pulled over the police, hundreds of people will pass by and say, ‘I don’t want that embarrassment.’”
According to the traffic law, the fine for illegally overtaking a vehicle on the right is QR1,000. Changing lanes at an intersection and blocking an intersection are punishable by fines of QR500 each.
Authorities are also working to upgrade traffic cameras to detect vehicles that tailgate and drivers who turn left from straight-heading lanes, a senior official said in August last year.
At the time, Mohamed Saad Al Kharji, director general of the Traffic Department, said minimum speed limits will also be rolled out “in the near future.”
However, according to the MOI’s list of traffic violations, driving a vehicle at “abnormal low speed that may obstruct traffic movement without a good reason,” is already punishable by a QR300 fine.