Driving in Qatar might take you some time to get used to. Here's what you should know, including fines and traffic violations.
22 July 2013| Last updated on 2 January 2018
Driving in a strange country is stressful enough, but falling foul of the local driving laws can be very worrying, and indeed costly. This article will advise you on what to expect when driving in Qatar, how to avoid an offence, where to check to see if you have committed an offence and if so how to go about settling any subsequent fine.
Driving in Qatar
Driving in Qatar is of a much lower standard that in most western countries. The most problematic areas appear to be roundabouts, where cars do not keep within their lanes and often are in the wrong lane for the turning they intend to take.
This of course does not deter most drivers from trying to cut across other lanes to get to their destination! You will sometimes feel that you sit forever at a roundabout waiting for an opening and you will soon learn that you just have to go for it!
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Of course if you do pause for too long, you will be subtlety reminded by the person behind you whose hand will appear to be stuck to the horn! During busy times, the roundabouts will be manned by police to control the flow of traffic.
Be aware that some drivers will also tailgate and flash their lights if they consider that you are driving too slowly. In this situation, you should if possible move over to another lane and avoid any road rage. In Qatar, hand gestures can result in imprisonment. You will learn that a few choice mutterings to yourself will suffice!
If you do have an accident whilst in Qatar and if it is considered only a minor accident, you are allowed to move the vehicle to the roadside. It is then advised that you obtain the driver’s details such as name, car registration, mobile number and ID number and then arrange a time for you both to meet at the traffic department in order to report the accident. However, you should take numerous photos, if possible, before you move the vehicle, just in case there is any debate at a later time.
SEE ALSO: What to do after a car accident in Qatar
Traffic Offences and Penalties
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.
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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 do it here on the Ministry of Interior (“MOI”) website.
Enter your plate number and click submit. If there are no violations, it will state “No Violations” or alternatively a list will appear. 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
|500 + 100 for every 10km/h over
|Not using the turn signal in advance
|Driving with licence that hasn't been renewed
|Driving with suspended licence
|Driving an unregistered vehicle
|Driving a vehicle without number plates
|Unauthorised changes made to number plates
|Blocking the flow of traffic intentionally
|Driver or front seat passenger aren't wearing a seat belt
|Using mobile phone while driving
|Driving without a licence or refusing to give it to the police
Other useful websites
An e-Government portal that allows citizens, residents, businesses and visitors to easily access government information and services any time
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!