Gulf | Kuwait

Kuwait acts against expat traffic violators

Bahrain and Qatar could also restrict some expats from obtaining driving licences

  • By Habib Toumi Bureau Chief
  • Published: 13:00 June 5, 2013
  • Gulf News

Manama: Kuwait has deported a domestic helper who had 21 vehicles registered in his name, in a serious violation of the country’s traffic rules.

“We have discovered during an inspection campaign of the vehicles on the road that several domestic helpers had cars registered under their names,” Abdul Fattah Al Ali, the interior ministry assistant undersecretary for traffic, said. “We have found that one domestic helper had 21 cars under his name. We summoned him and then deported him for breaking the rules,” he said, quoted by local Arabic daily Al Seyassah.

Kuwait has launched several campaigns throughout the country to address deficiencies and abuses on the roads after they gained an unwanted notoriety as chaotic and dangerous in the absence of an adequate driving culture and full compliance with rules and regulations.

The official said that the crackdown included the misuse of licences by some of the drivers.

“We have decided to revoke all driving licences issued to students who have graduated from their universities and are therefore no longer students,” Al Ali said. “We have also moved to take back the licences that had been issued to housewives who took up work. The new status means that they have to re-apply for the driving licence in line with the rules. The interior ministry has every right to act when the conditions for issuing the licence are no longer fulfilled. The ex-students and the former stay-at-home wives can apply for a new driving licence under their new status as employees,” he said.

In Bahrain, the lower chamber of the parliament voted to restrict issuing driving licences to non-Bahrainis in specific jobs.

The lawmakers said on Tuesday that the overcrowded roads and the constant bottlenecks in the country called for drastic solutions to deal with the increasing number of vehicles and drivers.

Under the proposal, the interior ministry will issue a list of the professional occupations that allow their expatriate holders to apply for a driving licence.

Unskilled workers and domestic helpers, the largest community of foreigners in the country, are most certainly to be excluded from applying for the much-coveted driving document. However, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) citizens will not be affected by the decision.

The restrictions will be included in the new traffic road code endorsed by the lawmakers following five years of intense debate.

The draft will have to be endorsed by the Shura Council, the upper chamber of the bicameral parliament, before it reaches the government.

Slightly more than half of the total population in the island kingdom is made up of foreigners.

In neighbouring Qatar, a study by a parliamentary committee has recommended restricting the number of expatriates who could apply for driving licences.

The committee attributed the recommendation to the overcrowded roads due, in part, to the daily registration of dozens of new cars.

Kuwait requires all applicants for a driving licence to have a salary of at least 400 dinars (Dh5,137) and a university degree.

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