Kuwaiti drivers will no longer be jailed for offences

New traffic chief reveals softer stance after former boss deported 12,000 foreigners for traffic offences
Kuwaiti drivers will no longer be jailed for offences
By Courtney Trenwith
Thu 29 May 2014 01:32 PM

Kuwait’s new traffic chief has said drivers will no longer be jailed for traffic offences, revealing a softer approach compared to his predecessor.

Abdullah Yousef Al Muhanna was appointed assistant undersecretary for traffic affairs earlier this week after Abdul Fattah Al Ali was removed from the post.

Al Ali had led a crackdown on drivers that saw thousands deported or jailed, often for minor offences.

In May last year, he said nearly 12,000 foreigners had been deported from Kuwait for traffic violations in the previous two-and-a-half years.

“Deportation of violating expatriates is not going to stop, especially of those carrying passengers illegally, in which case a person would be in violation of traffic and labour regulations,” Al Ali was quoted as saying at the time.

During the same period, at least KD24m ($85m) worth of fines were issued.

Al Ali defended the deportations by comparing running a red light to premeditated or attempted murder and saying that using a private vehicle as a taxi violated labour and residency laws, while driving without a licence was equal to working without a permit.

He said the deportations were only for serious repeat offenders but the Kuwait Labour Union argued they were illegal and a violation of human rights.

“Our procedures are necessary to save lives, with average statistics indicating that 450 people are killed and 3,000 are injured annually due to traffic accidents,” Al Ali had said.

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