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Wed 7 Nov 2007 01:33 AM

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Saudi stamps down on joyriders

Traffic violators face tough penalties under new law aiming to reduce deaths on Kingdom's roads.

Joyriders in Saudi Arabia face tough new penalties under a traffic law which aims to reduce the country’s annual road accident bill of SR21 billion ($5.6bn).

A supreme traffic council will be established at the Interior Ministry to set future traffic policies, acting information minister Saud Al Muthami told Arab News.

Existing agencies will investigate traffic disputes and violations until the body is established, the minister said.

According to Arab News “Individuals convicted of fully or partly damaging bodies of a person involved in accidents will be jailed for not more than a year and fined not more than SR10,000 or given either punishment, but without affecting private rights”.

Driving licences will be denied those convicted of taking or dealing drugs under the new legislation.

Joyriders will have their cars seized for 15 days and face a fine of SR1,000. Vehicles will be confiscated for a month with a fine of SR1,500 for a second offence. Third time offenders will be fined SR2,000 and their cars impounded.

The law aims to reduce the number of road accidents in the Kingdom which totalled 1.36 million over the past five years, causing 21,900 dealths and 122,600 injuries. Traffic violations take place at the rate of 11 per minute, with annual costs from road accidents reaching SR21 billion.

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