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Expat wanderer

What Are Kuwait Traffic Laws?

You all know me – I am a law and order kind of gal. I like order, I like laws, especially those voted on by the people. I like laws which can be enforced, and are enforced, equally, for all people equally in the country. Oh? I did? I said EQUALLY twice?

We are all equal before the law.

Now here is the tricky part. Have you ever seen a listing of traffic laws in Kuwait? Can you find a listing of laws, violations, and their charges? When we apply for driver’s licenses in almost any country, we get a little booklet to memorize, with the laws written inside it. The laws are clear. Clear laws are enforceable.

I’ve looked at the MOI website. I see something that looks like it might be a traffic code in Arabic. I have looked everywhere; I cannot find one in English. I find no reference to any handbooks for people applying for their driver’s license.

How can you enforce a law if the law is not published? Is there a code somewhere listing violations and fines? I published one many years ago, something that all the expats were sending around as ‘the new Kuwait traffic rules’ but IF it was, there was never anything in the paper about it to confirm its validity.


If you are going to have a major campaign to enforce traffic codes, you might want to publish the laws . . . in all major languages use today in Kuwait.

From the Kuwait Times:

Ali vows to rid traffic ‘disease’

Interior Ministry Assistant Undersecretary Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali
KUWAIT: Interior Ministry Assistant Undersecretary Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali stressed that all traffic violation-related deportations are in accordance with the law. Speaking at a press conference at the Kuwait Journalists Association (KJA) headquarters, Ali said that deporting people for traffic violations was also adopted by the US and other countries worldwide. “The problem is that we were very tolerant with violators and this does not mean that law violation is a right for motorists,” he underlined, urging all human rights organizations who have criticized Kuwait’s traffic police to examine human rights in their respective countries before talking about Kuwait.

“We have filed over 70,000 traffic citations including 43,000 serious ones such as running red lights, driving under the influence of alcohol, driving on the wrong side and many others,” he elaborated, pointing out that those already deported did not want to respect the traffic laws they had repeatedly violated. Ali added that the results of studies of traffic problems revealed many and that once one problem was solved, another emerged immediately.

“We have various problems… including the fact that motorists speak many languages and dialects which requires a large number of specialists to develop their traffic awareness,” he explained, noting that the traffic remedy strategy started by diagnosing the “disease” by studying random “specimens” at different times of the day at places with heavy traffic flows such as Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, Shuwaikh Industrial Area, Amman Street, Bnaid Al-Gar, Khaitan, Farwaniya and Fahaheel.

“The specimens showed some major problems such as domestic drivers using private vehicles as taxis, taxi and large vehicle drivers who do not hold general driver’s licenses and people driving without licenses at all,” he said, adding that this called for strict law enforcement.

“Traffic in Kuwait is like an old sick man who once treated for one aliment develops another,” he noted, adding that 18 traffic inspection teams dressed in civilian clothes had been formed and deployed in various places. “Fortunately, traffic police only file 100 daily citations in Jleeb compared to 1,000-1,500 in the past”, he concluded.


June 18, 2013 - Posted by | Bureaucracy, Civility, Communication, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Law and Order, Leadership, Living Conditions, Safety, Social Issues | , , , , , ,


  1. The disease of traffic is caused by the Kuwaiti boys in their big pickups and SUVs racing down the roads and by the Kuwaiti women arguing on their mobiles – but of course, if they make trouble (i.e. cause an accident) it will be the other (expat) person’s fault. Happened to my friend – going through a green light, Kuwaiti in big SUV runs a red light and smashes in to her. Her car is totaled and she is banged up and he berates her in the street saying it’s her fault. In police station, Kuwaiti is believed and allowed to leave with no charges. Typical story….
    No hope for the traffic situation….

    Comment by markingmyspot | June 20, 2013 | Reply

  2. My first couple months driving in Kuwait, I was terrified, driving on Hgwy 30 and Hgwy 40 was so fast and so aggressive. A SUV weaving in and out clipped another car and sparks flew and glass flew everywhere – and they both kept going :0

    I got used to it.

    But I still wonder exactly what the traffic rules are, if there is a booklet printed in other than Arabic for expat drivers. I even wrote to the MOI asking about it, but they never replied 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 20, 2013 | Reply

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