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Kuwait to deport drivers without licences
March 9, 2015, 1:36 pm
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Kuwait is to deport any foreigner caught driving without a valid licence in a toughening of the traffic law

Security sources attributed the decision to the fact that several expatriates did not mind paying the “trivial” fine of KD30 if they were arrested by the police and insisted on driving without obtaining the Kuwaiti licence, local daily Al Rai reported on Monday.

No date for the implementation of the decision has been mentioned, but the sources said that that the stiffer penalty would decrease traffic congestion and would limit accident casualties.

Kuwait has intensified its campaigns 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.

In 2013, Kuwait deported 503 foreigners for committing serious traffic violations that included jumping red lights, reckless driving, using private vehicles to carry passengers illegally, and driving without a proper licence. Five of the deportees were from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

The deportation was part of a campaign launched by the authorities to exert greater control over traffic flow and to improve road safety in the country.

The campaign has evoked both warm support and sharp criticism in the local community and the blogosphere was awash with arguments from all sides. Those who endorsed the move said that it would help make the roads safer for all and would ensure that foreigners acted within the confines of the law. However, others argued that it was a measure targeting a vulnerable segment of residents.

A study released in 2009 predicted that traffic congestions and accidents would cost Kuwait KD 27.430 billion ($95 billion) over ten years as the country tries to shrug off a terrible world record.

Despite its small total population of around three million people, Kuwait has been hit by an alarming rate of accidents and injuries.

According to the 2009-2019 Traffic National Strategy, around 200 Kuwaitis are killed and 6,000 are injured annually in traffic accident, giving the northern Arabian Gulf country the world’s top ranking in the number of deaths and injuries resulting from traffic accidents.

More than 25,000 Kuwaitis, mostly relatives of those involved in accidents, are affected every year, the strategy, prepared by an international expert, said.

The money to be spent by Kuwait to deal with accidents will represent around 6 per cent of its annual GDP.

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