Qatar’s Traffic Department has launched a new initiative to find and penalize drivers who violate road rules, including not fastening their seat belts, using phones while driving, and driving without a license, according to local media reports.
The crackdown on violators was launched on Sunday morning following a decision from the Ministry of Interior, and is expected to continue for the next three months, according to Arabic newspaper Al Raya.
Although details of the campaign have so far been sparse, residents are reporting seeing police check points in several parts of Doha, where officers are stopping vehicles and asking for valid drivers’ licenses and car registrations:
What are these checks at Al Khafji St near Riviera Gardens? Yesterday and today at 10am police stopping vehicles asking for ID @dohanews
— Andrea Gutierrez M. (@andreamesegue) December 30, 2013
Others have noticed traffic police taking down the license plate numbers of violators on the road:
@dohanews police standing behind bushes sunday noting down license of cars trying to escape traffic on hard shoulder near environment r/a
— Stefanie Dekker (@StefanieDekker) December 30, 2013
@dohanews I saw 5 traffic police 2 of them were captains stopping cars driving on the emergency lane on the Doha expressway this morning.
— Abdallah Ali عبدالله (@QatariGuy) December 30, 2013
Last week, the Ministry of Interior also began urging people to report parking and other violations via its updated Metrash 2 mobile app, which allows users to take photos and submit them with GPS coordinates.
Residents have long complained about a lack of enforcement on Qatar’s roads, responding in an MOI survey last year that police intervention, as well as increased education, could help alleviate traffic problems.
While the rate of deaths and serious injuries have fallen in recent years, horrific crashes continue to be a regular occurrence in and around Doha.
In absolute terms, the number of accidents resulting in injury increased nearly 12 percent last year. The number of severe injuries increased some 3.2 percent, while the number of people killed decreased from 205 in 2011 to 204 last year.
So far, residents appear to be greeting the campaign, which has not been officially announced yet, with appreciation:
@dohanews @andreamesegue Fantastic! More of this please!!!
— Chipper (@minoush73) December 30, 2013
Have you seen an increase in traffic police out on the road? Thoughts?