7 changes to Qatar traffic law effective from 31 December

Errant motorists in Qatar face stiffer penalties now as amendments to the traffic law come into effect on Thursday, December 31.

Law No. 16, which was issued by HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in August this year, seeks to come down heavily on different types of traffic violations – such as speeding and illegal parking – through the imposition of more stringent penalties.

50% reduction if fines are paid within 30 days

As per the new rules, motorists who are fined for flouting traffic laws can get a 50% reduction on certain offences if they pay up within 30 days of the violation being registered.

However, the discount does not apply to 37 types of traffic violations and motorists will have to pay the full amount if they commit any of these offences.

These include illegal parking in handicapped slots, overtaking from the right, reckless driving, driving in an inebriated state, fleeing the site of an accident and giving a vehicle to a person who does not have a valid driving licence.

Other violations for which the discount cannot be availed include racing with vehicles on public roads without obtaining a proper written licence from the authorities concerned, driving a vehicle without a valid and appropriate licence and unauthorised modifications to the shape, colour or number plates of a vehicle.

Negative points for exceeding speed limits

The licence of motorists who exceed the speed limit will incur negative points on a proportionate basis.

  • A driver who exceeds the speed limit by 30km/h will incur one negative point.
  • A driver who exceeds the speed limit by 40km/h will incur 2 negative points.
  • A driver who exceeds the speed limit by 50km/h will incur 3 negative points.
  • A driver who exceeds the speed limit by 60km/h will incur 4 negative points.

Parking at slots reserved for handicapped

Under the new rules, the fine for parking vehicles at slots reserved for the handicapped has been raised from QR500 to QR1,000.

Also, parking at slots reserved for the handicapped will incur three negative points.

Overtaking from right

Under the new rules, the fine for overtaking from the right has been raised to QR 1000. Also this type of fines cannot qualify for 50% discount even if it is paid within 30 days.

Parking at non-designated spots

To prevent motorists from leaving their cars at non-designated spots, Article 82 states that vehicles should not be left on public roads in a manner that may endanger the lives of others or their property, or delay or impede traffic movement.

Besides, no obstacles or anything that could block traffic or impede pedestrians or road works are to be left on the road without a written permission from the Licensing Authority.

Impounding errant vehicles

Article 89 says a vehicle may be impounded by being driven or towed to the yard , and no responsibility will be shouldered by the authorities for any damage caused during the process of transferring it to the designated place.

The impounded vehicle will not be handed over to its owner until the matter is settled and the incurred fees, fines and expenses are paid.

If the owner does not show up to claim the impounded vehicle within three months, the authorities will sell the vehicle in a public auction.

Validity of road permits

The new law stipulates that the registration of any mechanical vehicle is issued for one calendar year, starting from the date of issue.

The amendment also extended the validity of road permits from two years to three years for new vehicles.

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