Kuwait lawyer seeks driving ban for expats

Mohammad al-Ansari calls for a temporary suspension of driving licences, a total ban on issuing new licences

A Kuwaiti lawyer filed a lawsuit on Monday seeking a temporary driving ban on millions of expatriates to ease traffic congestion in the oil-rich Gulf state.

Lawyer Mohammad al-Ansari called for a temporary suspension of their driving licences and a total ban on issuing new licences for expats.

He filed the lawsuit on behalf of a number of Kuwaiti citizens affected by traffic problems, Ansari told AFP in a written statement.

"The traffic problem in the country has reached an unbearable phase," said the lawyer, adding that the government had failed to resolve it.

Ansari said the suspension should stay in force until new regulations are introduced to curb traffic jams, although certain professions should be exempted.

Around 3.1 million foreigners, most of them Asians, live and work in Kuwait alongside 1.35 million citizens.

For the past decade, authorities have imposed very strict rules on expatriates to obtain a driver's licence.

Most foreigners are required to hold a university degree, earn 600 dinars ($2,000) a month and have lived legally in the emirate for at least two years before a license is issued.

Their high number has been criticised by lawmakers and activists, with several MPs calling for it to be lowered to the same level as Kuwaiti citizens within five years.

Others have called for taxes to be slapped on their money transfers out of Kuwait.

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Posted by: ahmed

Anyone with an ounce of sense that has visited Kuwait realizes that the traffic congestion is mainly due to lack of proper road development, timing on the street lights, and failure to implement an RTA which would regulate cars, buses and alternative transportation which Kuwait has failed to build. Upgrading buses, implementing a car registration system integrated with insurance companies and government inspection systems would take many of these nationals he is targeting off the roads. But be fair because you will benefit, upgrading buses, routes and building a metro would be a civil way of handling the roads. The State benefits and the country benefits.

Posted by: Fentoni

Seems like a logical, reasonable and well thought out plan. I can't see the downside.

Posted by: Helper

Spoken like a true expat

Posted by: expetite

Can't wait to see the country grind to a halt. LOL Since all bus and taxi drivers are expats, there will be no shop workers, waiters, waitresses, cooks, spa workers, maids, etc. I can't imagine any Kuwaitis taking up bus driving or waitressing as a career.

Posted by: john

Consequently, what you deal with when you start banning driving licenses based on education level, time in country rather than driving training and upgrading license facilities is masses amounts of foreign nationals driving illegally. Despite the admirable efforts of the UAE government to set up a RTA, Dubai still struggles with residents who try to by-pass the system. However, the system is in place and most residents adhere to it, so Kuwait would benefit greatly not by punishing its residents by removing their driving privileges, but by implementing a wide campaign to regulate the roads and upgrading alternative transportation systems in order to pull them off the roads. As Ahmed stated, the State benefits and the country benefits. I'm sure the benevolent UAE would offer guidance to Kuwait in setting up an RTA in the country.

Posted by: Helper

You will need to read the article again and understand the concept of the phrase 'certain exceptions'.
If it's still hard to grasp then i can see why license banning is a necessity for some.

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