By Neil Halligan
New amendments to reduce traffic jams include minimum salary and university qualification requirement
Kuwait has introduced a number of amendments to the issuing of driving licences for expat workers with a view to reducing the traffic jams and cutting the number of cars on the road.
Unless exempted, expats must hold a valid two-year residency before applying for a driving licence, hold a university degree and earn a monthly salary of $2,061 (KD 600). The driving licence will be also be linked to the residency visa (iqamas).
Interior Ministry Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs Maj Gen Abdullah Mehanna said the amended traffic law is meant to fix loopholes in the current law, and to control the number of vehicles on the roads.
“The new law tightens the controls over the issuance of driving licenses for expatriates and renewal of vehicle licenses with a view to reducing traffic jams and cutting the number of cars, particularly the dating ones," Mehanna said.
“The Interior Ministry is coordinating with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour to link between the periods of residency and driving licenses in order to prevent foul play by some expats who manipulated some loopholes in the current law," he added.
According Mehanna, the traffic department issued 38,406 driving licenses and registered 152,400 direct violations and 4,000 indirect ones in the last nine months.
The list of those exempted from the new amendments includes non-Kuwaiti wives, widows and divorcees of Kuwaiti men who have Kuwaiti children, husbands of Kuwaiti women, illegal residents (bedoons) holding valid security ID cards and students registered in a university or a PAAET institute in Kuwait.
According to Kuwait Times, those exempted from the residency and salary conditions include: housewives who have children and whose husbands already hold driving licenses, members of diplomatic corps, professional sport clubs’ players, drivers, general representatives (mandoubs), passport and Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour representatives who already hold valid driving licenses from their respective countries, judges, members of the public prosecution, chancellors, experts, university and PAAET teaching staff members, journalists, members of the media, doctors, pharmacists, engineers, teachers, social workers, researchers, translators, librarians, imams working for the government and sports trainers.
Also exempted from the residency visa condition are: private drivers who have been working for a minimum five years for the same sponsor (provided they change their profession to ‘driver’), specialised technicians in the oil sector, nurses, physiotherapists, other medical technicians, pilots, captains, their assistants and washers of dead bodies. In addition the decision exempts general managers, their assistants, managers and accountants.
I don't believe this will have any impact on the traffic conjestion in Kuwait, because Kuwait that systems that track drivers like the UAE has which they umbrella under the RTA. With the lack of police monitoring the roads, it is very easy for drivers to escape law enforcement and without having an RTA it is impossible to track cars that are driven without valid registraction, license or condition of the carrier. What Kuwait should do is establish an RTA which should also involve the immediate upgrade of the buses in Kuwait to the standard levels of the UAE. If you take drivers off the roads correctly by incorporating systems, then the systems will remove drivers off the road and offer them acceptable transporation by buses at the moment, but this country should consider a metro as the UAE.
A foolish proposal from a foolish government if they do this what happens those without a licence will use taxis so the number of taxi will increase.
This government real has no idea how to sort traffic out so here are a few ideas
Increase petrol prices to reduce unnessary journeys
Restrict the number of cars owned by people
Increase the age before you get a licence
Instead of insuring cars do like UK and insure drivers so bad drivers are penalised
Using salary and a university degrees is racist and unfair
Kuwait for Kuwaitis but you forget you would be nothing without us
What Kuwait has introduced is illfated, wrongly designed.
Instead they should
- introduce understandable traffic rules and a strong, clearly defined sanctions catalogue
- apply these traffic rules to EVERYONE (not only expats!)
- enforce these traffic rules on EVERYone (not only expats!)
- santion EVERY violator (not only expats!)
Admittedly, this will not solve ALL traffic problems, but 95% of them because there will ALWAYS be rogue drivers (in most cases NOT expats!).
Kuwait is a lost cause for all expats. The message is so very clear - they do not want expats in their country so all self respecting expats should leave and find employment in other Gulf States whose economies are far superior anyway. What is far from clear is how Kuwait will function when the expats have gone, but that is their problem. Kuwait for the Kuwaiti's and therefore Kuwaiti problems for the Kuwaitis also.