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Drivers fume over new smoking bill
February 1, 2015, 4:55 pm
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The Municipality revealed last week about a study to fine and impound the cars of those smoking while driving, in addition to penalties for other traffic offences. Director General of the Kuwait Municipality Ahmed AlSabeeh said that the municipality will submit these recommendations to the Interior Ministry, which will be discussed during a joint workshop. Sabeeh explained that the aim of this move is to maintain the safety of drivers and the environment. But most people interviewed by a local daily were skeptical.

“When we talk about the house, we are taking about a private place - you can dance or drink inside your home and it’s nobody’s business, as is the car. They cannot stop me from smoking inside my car because it is a private space. This law is encroaching on people’s privacy. For example, I will ask you to listen to another singer instead of your favorite one, but you won’t heed my order because your car it is not mine and I do not have the right to tell you what to do in it. So this is an illogical decision, and the car is not a public place to take control of,” fumed Ahmed Abu Al-Ez, an administrative assistant.

“Even in the United Arab Emirates, fines are imposed for smoking in cars, but they are not impounded. Kuwait must concentrate on repairing roads and focus on the bigger picture,” he added. Khalid Al-Saleh, accountant, was also irked by the study. “I don’t think this decision will ever become law, as I do not see any aim behind this decision - I’m hurting myself, not others.” Rashid Alawneh, a chef, laughed heartily when he heard the news for the first time. “There are some people, who due to their addiction to smoking, will risk a ticket and impoundment of their cars just to smoke. They will then look for someone important for wasta to get their cars back.

Kuwait should create a good environment first and care about making the country green first, then apply these rules. I support the decision, but I do not think it will be applied,” he said. “The smoker will not harm anyone in his car, but if there are children, the law must be applied. But I hope they raise the fine for people who throw out cigarette butts while driving,” said Umm Ali, a housewife. Nizah, also a housewife from the US, had a different opinion. She said the government is right to take such a decision. “They should curb smoking everywhere and not just in cars, as this is very bad for health and the environment,” she said.

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