Manama: Kuwait said that it would deport any foreign driver caught a second time not wearing the seatbelt or holding a cell phone.
“The expatriate who breaks twice the law by not wearing the seat belt or using a mobile phone should be in his home country,” Brigadier Adel Al Hasshash, the head of public relations and security media, said.
“Article 207 of Traffic Law allows the impounding of vehicles while other articles give the interior minister the right to deport those who do not comply with public order and break the laws,” he said during a TV interview in Kuwait.
Al Hasshash said all Kuwaiti citizens and foreigners should fully comply with the law and cooperate with the public security in its application.
However, a legal expert said that deporting foreigners for breaking traffic was an exaggeration of the penalty.
“We have to be cautious about deporting foreigners for not wearing seatbelts,” Mudawas Al Rashidi, professor international law at the University of Kuwait, said. “We need to think whether other countries could take similar stances and threaten Kuwaitis, especially students, that they would be deported if they are caught breaking traffic laws abroad,” he said, quoted by Kuwaiti daily Al Seyassah on Thursday.
Several Kuwaitis have expressed anger at a decision to impound cars for months after drivers were caught not wearing seatbelts, using cell phones, or parking on sideways or in no parking areas.
The interior ministry started impounding cars last week, triggering a wave of protests.
One lawmaker, Riyadh Al Adsani, threatened to grill the interior minister if the new decision is not revoked, arguing that penalties should be gradual.
Other lawmakers said that the decision might not be constitutional and should be re-considered.
However, the ministry remained unfazed and insisted on the application of the new decision.
“The Traffic Directorate will not accept any mediation by anyone not to impound vehicles or to release cars,” Al Hasshash said.