Brig al-Kharji: Traffic Department director
By Ayman Adly/Staff Reporter
Holding a mobile phone while driving is a violation of Qatar’s traffic rules, irrespective of the fact that the driver is using the handset for talking or not, a Traffic Department official has said.
Two of the main causes for road traffic accidents in Qatar are the use of mobile phones and speeding, First Lieut Riyad Ahmed, of the National Campaign for Road Accidents Prevention, said.
“It is not only talking on the phone but also carrying the phone for any other purpose while driving is a violation,” he explained while speaking on the sidelines of the launch of an Automated Insurance Machine (AIM) by Qatar Insurance Company (QIC) at the headquarters of the Traffic Department on Monday.
“Motorists may use their phones after their vehicles come a complete stop at a red traffic light or a parking area. Yet, as long as the vehicle is moving or waiting for crossing a roundabout or an unsignalised intersection, it is a traffic violation to even hold the phone,” the officer told the gathering .
He said the use of mobile phones whether for talking, texting or any other purpose considerably diverted the attention of motorists and negatively affected their performance on the road. “Traffic patrols try to spot the violators and fine them accordingly round the clock.”
Regarding giving way to ambulances and emergency vehicles, he said that while doing so motorists should be very careful not to risk their lives or the lives of others. “If the motorist has to jump the red light in such a case and he did not cause any harm, it will not be registered as a violation. It will be removed by the department in co-operation with the operation control room. However, motorists are advised to do this in extreme cases only and by exercising the utmost caution. They should first try to give way by moving their vehicles either to the right or to the left .”
The officer said the number of accidents was decreasing, taking into account the increasing number of new vehicles on the roads as well as the rising population.
“Limiting the number of vehicles on the roads could be attained through introducing means like group transportation for employees and the use of public buses and taxis. Also, there are campaigns to encourage families to use one car when the members are going to one destination and use school buses for children,” he said.
The conversion of roundabouts in different locations into signalised intersections would positively affect the traffic circulation around the country, Traffic Department director Brig Mohamed Saad al-Kharji said.
Brig al-Kharji said the launch of the AIM was aimed at easing the process of vehicle registration and the Ministry of Interior wanted to reduce the paper work. He hoped that in future customers could pay fines through an e-link in the same machine.
Speaking to reporters on the instructions of Brig al-Kharji, First Lieut Riyad Ahmed said the introduction of intersections would improve the overall traffic situation. For instance, smart traffic lights could be used at such intersections, which operate by giving priority to the most crowded direction and maintain balance among various directions easing any potential congestion.
He said that some new expatriate drivers were not familiar with the techniques and rules guiding driving through roundabouts, which caused many accidents.