*Traffic Department asks motorists to obey rules as number of speeding cases also goes up
As part of the ongoing traffic awareness campaign “Accident-free Summer” the General Directorate of Traffic will mainly focus this week on highlighting the risks of jumping signals and speeding.
These two violations are considered to be the most common reasons for road accidents that cause deaths and material damage. The awareness campaign, run by the Traffic Department at the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has now entered the sixth week.
Colonel Mohamed Radhi al-Hajri, Director of the Awareness and Information Department at the General Directorate of Traffic yesterday said the violation of jumping the red signal is subject to a fine of QR 6,000 and 7 (negative) points, stressing that the ultimate goal of the Directorate was to ensure safety.
Addressing a press conference, Colonel Mohamed al-Hajri underscored the significance and the importance of all the residents respecting law through following the traffic signs.
The head of Traffic Planning section at the Roads Engineering Department, Captain Mohamed Misfer al-Hajri said the statistics for the first and second quarters of the current year showed an increase in the number of speeding violations with 51,000 motorists caught exceeding the speed limits and some 6,700 jumping the red signal at crossings.
He said the violation of jumping the signal, which often results in loss of life, is considered a deliberate attack on others because the offender has willfully refused to obey an order given in the form of the red light to stop and facilitate the movement of traffic from the other side.
The official said all traffic signals in the country are smart signals, which operate through "sensors" that respond to the situation at the crossing, like the volume of traffic on the streets.
"Motorists shall undertake to observe automated traffic signals while driving. Even if the traffic light has turned green, a motorist may not move if such an act will disrupt or hinder traffic. In the event that a traffic police officer is directing traffic using hand signals, motorists shall comply with those signals and ignore the others."
He said traffic rules are also applicable for pedestrians and violators can be fined QR500. Article No. 62 of the Traffic Law stipulates that when crossing a road , pedestrians shall follow the traffic lights (if available) and signals given manually by traffic police personnel.
Regarding speeding, the official said motorists are bound by Article 53 of the Law that prohibits exceeding the maximum speed limit on the road. "However, drivers of police vehicles, ambulances and fire-fighters responding to an emergency are exempted, as is any driver of a vehicle transporting patients or seriously injured persons, provided they use an alarm and hazard lights and slow down as much as possible at junctions."
Motorists are also generally required to reduce speed when approaching pedestrian crossings and residential areas, turnings, bends and ramps, junctions, roundabouts, bridges and tunnels, and when entering public squares, or approaching schools and hospitals.