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Watch: Pickup pulls out traffic radar in Saudi Arabia

Saudis call for action against driver for damaging public property

Image Credit: YouTube/Social media

Manama: Saudis have called for prompt action to identify and arrest a driver who used his pickup to pull out a Saher traffic radar.

A short video of the pickup moving forward and pulling out the mechanical eye box went viral on social media, prompting angry accusations of vandalism and lack of respect for public property.

No reason for the driver's action was mentioned although several commenters speculated that the driver was caught by the camera for exceeding speed limits.

"Some people may feel frustrated they were caught by Saher and thus obliged to pay a fine, but the system was introduced to deal with the shocking surge in the number of accidents that have claimed many lives," Jaber, a user, said. "Saher is doing a great service by forcing drivers to be more compliant with traffic rules."

Another user, under the moniker of Very Direct, said that only "stupid" people would remove a radar.

"I am looking forward to the day when we no longer have such stupid people who obviously have to work on improving their attitudes," he said. "We do need to educate these people on showing respect and on appreciating the merits of traffic signals and deterrents. The belief that a driver has the right to drive at 200 kilometres per hour should be dismissed."

Talal said that action against reckless drivers should be stringent.

"The state exerts great efforts to make traffic safer for the people even if it means forcing violators to pay fines. Overall safety is much more important than allowing reckless men behind steering wheels to drive at the speed they want and cause tragic accidents. They should be not only fined, but also punished."

Saher, a rigorous monitoring system with traffic cameras, was started in 2010 to check speed on highways and to record red light jumping in major cities.

Authorities said that it was part of a campaign to bring order to chaotic driving and boost a more positive traffic culture. They now plan to expand it to all regions of the kingdom by 2018

However, the system has often been resisted by unruly and speeding drivers who at one time sought assistance from religious leaders and requested them to ban it on the grounds that it was robbing them of their savings. Some of the drivers said that it was their right to cheat the system, arguing the resulting fines were taking their hard-won money.

However, all religious scholars rejected the claims, arguing that cheating the system was not allowed and insisting that all fines had to be paid.

A car accident happens every second and 17 people are killed in crashes every day on average in Saudi Arabia, statistics indicate.

According to the figures issued last year by the Saudi health ministry, 598,300 accidents occurred in 2012, an average of 1,614 a day and of 67 an hour.