There should be no excuse for parking a vehicle in an undesignated area as the country now has a number of underground and multi-storey parking facilities, a senior official of the General Directorate of Traffic has said.
This was highlighted on Sunday during a press conference at the Traffic Department headquarters to discuss the issues of obstructing traffic, unauthorised parking and wrong overtaking, which will be the main focus areas for this week as part of the ongoing awareness campaign, ‘Accident-free Summer’. The campaign has now entered its sixth week.
Colonel Mohamed Radhi al-Hajri, director of the Awareness and Information Department at the General Directorate of Traffic, said such parking violations could not be justified on the pretext of a shortage of parking lots. This is because the need for parking lots has already been addressed in most areas with high traffic density, he noted.
However, he said, the problem is that some motorists would not like to walk even for a short distance between their destination and the nearest available parking lot. He explained that it is a matter of personal attitude and inconsiderate conduct, which shows to what degree the person concerned respected himself and others.
The official stressed that driving is an art and a matter of considerate conduct, and the motorist - regardless of violations and penalties - should ask himself whether his conduct on the road is appropriate or not.
Besides, the Traffic Department reiterated that the issuance of traffic violations against motorists who break the traffic law was not aimed at making material gains or just penalising people. It is mainly aimed at ensuring public safety through curbing traffic violations.
Captain Ali Ahmed al-Aswad, head of the Madinat Khalifa Traffic Investigation Department, spoke about wrong overtaking and noted that Article 64 of Traffic Law No 19 for 2007 dealt with this offence.
He reiterated that it is not allowed to overtake vehicles except from the left. Also, the law stipulates that vehicles belonging to the police, Internal Security Force, Civil Defence, ambulances and rescue vehicles should not be overtaken when such vehicles are travelling on an emergency mission and using alarm and hazard lights. Further, motorists should not overtake when visibility is poor.
It was also pointed out that motorists should not drive a vehicle too slowly at a speed inconsistent with conditions of the road, vehicle and its load, and weather, in such a way as to impede the normal movement of other vehicles, unless there is a reasonable justification. This stipulation is laid down in Article 52 of the law.
Meanwhile, Article 81 stipulates that “no person responsible for keeping a vehicle may keep such a vehicle parked on any road in a way that is likely to cause obstruction of traffic or expose road users to risk”. If such a person does not remove the vehicle within a reasonable period of time, the licensing authority may remove the vehicle, with the owner undertaking to pay the cost of removal.
Vehicles should be removed from the site in the event of minor accidents, in order to prevent the obstruction of traffic and endangering the safety of other road users, it was observed at the briefing.
Captain al-Aswad said the fine for wrong overtaking is QR1,000, while overtaking on a road with a continuous white line entails a fine of QR500.
'Wrong overtaking' violations drop
The number of violations pertaining to wrong overtaking by vehicles dropped from 35,411 cases in the second half of 2017 to 17,931 in the first six months of this year, the General Directorate of Traffic said.
However, violations for impeding traffic flow increased in the same period – from 5,374 in the July-December 2017 period to 6,850 in the first half of 2018.
The directorate also informed that between August 4 and 10, 679 violations were registered for not wearing seatbelts, 344 for mobile phone use while driving and 172 for jumping signals.