Motorists trading penalty points
Web posted at: 8/14/2009 7:42:18
Source ::: THE PENINSULA
DOHA: Some motorists have hit upon a novel idea to escape being penalised for traffic violations under the current points system, which many find deterring.
They look for people with a valid driver’s licence who are willing to get the points transferred to their name for a fee.
There is no dearth of those who are offering such services and they, obviously, are low-income foreign workers, reports Al Sharq. The going rate for a penal point transfer is around QR100.
Since traffic violations are recorded against the number plates of the vehicles, traffic officials ask the owners who was driving the vehicle when the violation took place. All an owner needs to do is provide the name of the “paid volunteer” with his driver’s licence.
“This is a new phenomenon which has come to light after the traffic authorities put stringent rules in place to check violations,” said the daily.
The points system was introduced after the authorities realised the rate of accidents was not coming down despite hefty penalties being slapped on violators. Cash-rich motorists were undeterred as they gladly paid heavy fines for violations.
But in the current points system, a motorist accumulating 14 points for traffic violations in a year can see his driver’s licence suspended for three months.
The next year, if he accumulates 12 points, his licence is suspended for two months, while in the third year it is suspended for a month if the points add up to 10. In the fourth year, a motorist needs to join a driving school and undergo tests afresh to seek a driver’s licence if he accumulates 10 points for violations as his existing licence is revoked.
According to Al Sharq, a number of people have been calling for doing away with the points system and reintroducing the old penalty system.
Jumping traffic lights attracts the maximum points at seven, while wrong parking of a car or breaching the speed limit can see some three points credited into the driver’s account. Minor violations attract fewer points.
I’m driving along, getting ready to get in the right turn lane, when all of a sudden ahead of me, I can see a change in grade: Roadworks. Only in my lane. Here is the hazard – I can get in the lane now, and bump along, or I can stay in my curent lane and switch later, but I don’t know how many other drivers are adopting that strategy, and if I don’t make the right turn, I have to go many blocks out of my way. I signal and get in the raw, bumpy lane.
There just isn’t any good time to do roadworks. Some of the roads have serious potholes, many of the side roads have other serious defects. They have to be fixed, but oh the mess, the inconvenience. It’s the same in Kuwait, it’s the same in Seattle. I think of the bureaucrats who have to raise the funds (at least in Kuwait and Doha, it’s not taxes!), hire the companies, make the decisions and bear the howling complaints of the inconvenienced while the necessary work takes place.
At least on this day traffic is flowing smoothly and drivers are making allowances for one another. Things could be a lot worse.