Traffic Offences and Penalties
In order to curb the high number of road deaths and reckless accidents (in 2007 there was a ratio of 30 deaths per 100,000 head of population compared to 5.5 per 100,000 in the UK) the Qatari government recently enacted a new traffic law. This introduces a new points based system and includes severe penalties which can lead to a driving ban.
In essence the new law states that:
1. When a driver reaches 14 points a diving licence may be suspended for three months
2. If after the first ban the same person gathers a further 12 points their driving license will be suspended for six months
3. Nine months on the accumulation of the next 10 points
4. One year for the next eight points
5. Ultimately their driving license will be cancelled if the driver then accumulates another six points.
Once a driving licence has been cancelled it can only be issued again once the driver has re-taken his driving test.
In addition to the points, monetary fines can be, and are, severe.
A major difference between Qatar and most Western countries is that drivers are not informed here when a driving offence has been committed. Therefore it is vitally important that you check regularly to see if there is an offence against your vehicle. If you do not check regularly and you try to leave the country with a fine outstanding then it is likely that you will not be allowed to leave the country until it has been paid.
Luckily, with access to the internet it is very easy for you to check to see if any offences have been committed. The easiest way is to go to the Ministry of Interior (“MOI”) website (www.moi.gov.qa). It is likely the window will open in Arabic in which case you should click on the “English” option. You will see a list of “E” Options which at the time of writing were located on the right hand side of the page. The sixth option is “Traffic Violations”. By clicking on this link an option to enter a licence plate number will appear.
Enter your vehicle number and click submit. If there are no violations it will state “No Violations” or alternatively a list will appear and each offence will have a reference number, date, time, description (sometimes blank), location and number of points incurred together with the amount of the fine. There is an option at the bottom of the list called “settlement of fines”.
Alternatively there are a number of MOI booths located in and around Doha where you can settle the violations and have your points added to your licence (such as the city centre mall).
The following is just a selection of offences that are currently in force together with the number of points associated with each one.
|Jumping a red light
Driving in the opposite direction
Exceeding the maximum speed
Driving recklessly and dangerously
Driving with defective brakes
Driving with inappropriate licence
Driving with stripped or invalid licence
Driving an unregistered vehicle
Driving a vehicle without number plates
Unauthorised changes made to number plates
Blocking the flow of traffic intentionally
Driving a polluting vehicle
Driving a vehicle that leaks any material that can damage the road
Driving a vehicle which drops loads which can endanger the public safety
Making a wrong U-turn
Giving the licence to someone who has no licence
Driving a vehicle with unclear number plates
Refraining from giving driving licence to traffic police
Using lights, horns, microphones, or other machines against the law
Disobeying traffic signs
Other useful websites
Hukoomi - http://portal.www.gov.qa/wps/portal/homeEN
Enjoy your time here in Doha, don’t be afraid to get out there and explore, it really is worth the effort. Stay safe and happy motoring!