Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer


I have seen opinions, and heard people talking about how Kuwait has more important things to do than to penalize people who are using their mobile phones. They are outraged! Clean up the highways first, they say, give us better schools, enforce the laws already on the books (but leave our cell phones alone!)

I am sorry. I know I am going to get killed for this opinion, but have you ever followed someone driving while talking on a cell phone? Do you watch them wobble out of their lane, try to steer the car with their knee because they have the phone in one hand and they need to adjust the volume of the radio? In countries where mobile phone use has been monitored and statistics kept, they attribute a huge rise in inattentive driving to cell phone use. They have statistics. They can prove that cell phone use is linked to a rise in accidents.

Brave Qatar brought in a team of experts who interviewed seriously injured accident victims. Every single one of them was on a cell phone when involved in the accident.

My rant is this: a 5KD fine? In Kuwait, that is just laughable. A 5 KD fine (about $20 with the dollar diving into the cellar) is not a deterrent. I want to see a sliding scale: start at 50KD for the first incidence, double it for the second, double it again for the third, etc. Make it hurt.

There are too many drivers for the roads, even with the ongoing improvements. The drivers are ill experienced, and careless. Driving in Kuwait is lethal enough without the additional factor of cell phones. If you need to ask directions, pull over. It’s not that hard, you’re smart, you can figure it out.

March 19, 2008 - Posted by | Adventure, Bureaucracy, Community, Crime, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Health Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Statistics, Technical Issue


  1. WOOOOHOO I am first again! ;p

    I was driving once and this cop car went out of its lane and nearly hit my car … i went close to the car looked in and he was sending a txt msg … i beeped my horn and tsk tsk tsked him … and he didn’t stop me!
    am i not hot enough for him!? lol

    Comment by Chirp | March 19, 2008 | Reply

  2. Well I don’t think your wrong in your opinion but I do think this is an item that should be added to the list of things that need attention from the government.

    Yesterday I was almost creamed by a man in a Range Rover because he was on his phone in a cirle at that! But my question is, if the police dont pull you over for speeding will they even take the time to chase down people on their mobiles? It would take the Gov cleaning up their police force to make them act like true servants of the community to protect and serve.

    I was pulled over three times in one morning, I wasn’t speeding. They were just interested to see who I was, especially being out that early in the morning. Chirp its not cool to be pulled over for no reason, if anything now I FEAR the police more then think they would help me.

    Comment by Loca in Kuwait | March 19, 2008 | Reply

  3. I agree 100 percent; the fine should be more than 5 KD. Even taking on the phone with a headset is no safe but better than nothing i guess. It would be nice if seat belt law is enforced.

    Comment by Bader | March 19, 2008 | Reply

  4. There is a total disregard for many laws in this country now; it is disgusting.

    Yes, the fine should hurt and the law should be enforced – even by watchful citizens 😉

    Comment by jewaira | March 19, 2008 | Reply

  5. Loca I was kidding when I said my last remark .. cuz Kuwaiti cops have a repuation for pulling girls over to get their number.

    Comment by Chirp | March 19, 2008 | Reply

  6. Ahh no sorry I was thinking “gosh she is funny” because some of the cops look like they crawled from under a rock I knew you were joking but I was just happy he didnt pull you over. Yes they stopped my friend before and told her to give her number and he wouldnt give her a ticket.

    Comment by Loca in Kuwait | March 19, 2008 | Reply

  7. who cares about kd5!!! I think their cell phones should be taken away!!

    Comment by Amu | March 19, 2008 | Reply

  8. mythbusters did a lil “unscientific” but very interesting show on this once. they compared how someone drove an onstacle course after a couple of beers, and then,the next day did a cellphone driving test.

    amazingly the results were very close 😐

    damn i cant find the link.

    anwyay, even tho it seems like something small, thinking that its ok is a symptom of something much more serious.

    Comment by sknkwrkz | March 19, 2008 | Reply

  9. Wait! Wait! Chirp, you wrote about the phone fine, too? I didn’t see it! Or are you calling SHOTGUN???

    HOLY Smokes, Loca, that would be scary. How can you feel safe from police that are hitting on you??? Unfortunately, that seems to be a problem with police world wide. Sometimes, it is worse than asking for a phone number. The Asian maids here have some horrible tales to tell.

    Bader, you are right, the studies show that headsets aren’t really much better, but at least your hands aren’t involved, unless . . . do you talk with your hands?

    Jewaira – I agree with you. But I would hesitate to correct a citizen – wouldn’t you?

    Chirp – what do you do in a situation like that?

    Loca – What do YOU do in a situation like that?

    Amu – 5KD fine is like saying “don’t take this seriously”

    Skunk – I would love that link! And when are you going to post about the current world financial debacle?

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 19, 2008 | Reply

  10. LOL I was calling Shotgun.
    I would take the ticket, and I think everyone knows why :p

    Comment by Chirp | March 19, 2008 | Reply

  11. I’m gonna start taking pictures of cops on their phones while driving. KD 5 my toes. People talk on their cells at 7 in the morning…who the hell are they talking to..?!!!!

    Comment by G.E&B | March 19, 2008 | Reply

  12. Chirp – I don’t know why, but I think I can make a good guess why! Why don’t you just establish a fone-fine-fund (try saying that three times really fast!) in advance, a stack of 5KD bills in your car that you can just hand to the police when he stops you again and again and again and again and again and again and . . . .

    GE&B – My husband calls me to tell me about articles on BBC! Take his photo! Post it! I’m trying to get him to use a headset!

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 20, 2008 | Reply

  13. I agree with you 100%..I’m very disappointed..thought it was going end this silly habit! 5 KD?!! Absurd!!!!!

    Comment by Olórin | March 21, 2008 | Reply

  14. Olorin, what do you thing the penalty should be?

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 21, 2008 | Reply

  15. Mmm..Starting from 70 KD?

    Comment by Olórin | March 21, 2008 | Reply

  16. Good place to start! Poor Chirp!

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 22, 2008 | Reply

  17. It’s a joke, everything’s a joke out here. This won’t solve the problem, it will raise MOI’s budget because the next thing we know is a 50KD fine of escalated indirect charges of the same penalty. People will keep using the their cell because the fine is low and MOI will keep charging indirect tickets because people don’t care to know where and how.

    Comment by MacaholiQ8 | March 22, 2008 | Reply

  18. Ah! Mac, so you are saying they might be photographed, for example, and charged without having been stopped? So like they will go to travel this summer and have to pay their cell phone fines before they can leave? *Whooping with laughter!*

    They did say that the fine is 5KD if uncontested, if contested, it is automatically something like 25KD.

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 22, 2008 | Reply

  19. I am sorry I have been meaning to reply to you sooner but everyday I got busy and forgot. What I do in situations has actually changed over the years. When I first got here I use to have total respect for the police and would pull over immediately if I ever saw their lights. But after so many times of being pulled over for illegitimate reasons I now have a bad attitude towards the police. I know that not all police are crooked here, having met some really nice ones in different circumstances. But when they ask for my number or behave inappropriately I say that I will tell on them, that I will turn them in that I have done nothing wrong. Its only come to this twice, when I ask them why they pulled me over I didn’t do anything wrong they will say never mind and drive off. When they see me in the beginning they don’t know that I am American, they even question if I gained citizenship thru having lived there but I am originally Lebanese or some other type of Arabic nationality. I believe that if they think they can get away with being inappropriate they will but thats how I deal with them.

    Comment by Loca in Kuwait | March 30, 2008 | Reply

  20. Delighted to hear your answer, Loca. Fascinating – I think police do this in every country, but they are not supposed to. At least they let you go with no problems!

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 30, 2008 | Reply

  21. Intlxpatr,

    If I was any other nationality then westerner I would be afraid to be in this country, sorry to say it but its true. I have co-workers who are American but Asian decent who have been chased, offered money for favors and one has even been pushed up on in a bathroom.

    Comment by Loca in Kuwait | March 30, 2008 | Reply

  22. Loca, I hear all kinds of stories. My maid – who lives out – tells me she and her friends won’t go out after dark for fear of the police stopping them and telling them their papers aren’t in order but it will all go away for a small favor. And their papers ARE in order, but they have no power. It makes me feel so discouraged.

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 31, 2008 | Reply

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