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New road cameras detect use of mounted phones, dashboard screens as violations

Aug 29, 2023

The traffic monitoring programme is scheduled to commence on 3 September.

Drivers spotted interacting in any way with visual devices while behind the wheel face a fine, as per the latest details on the automated surveillance for driving violations law.

The law prohibits use of car dashboard screens as well as mobile phones, even if mounted, Chief of Radar Operations at the General Traffic Department Major Hamad Ali Al Muhannadi told Al Rayyan TV, confirming both would amount to violations that can be picked up by the radar system.

The official referenced Article 55 of the Traffic Law, which specifies that engaging with any visual device while driving, including mobile phones, would be considered a breach of the law.

Last week, the Ministry of Interior announced a new automated surveillance system that tracks traffic violations, focusing primarily on failure to wear seatbelts and use of mobile phone while operating a vehicle.

While the traffic monitoring programme is scheduled to commence on 3 September, the ministry has already rolled out the radar system in a bid to raise awareness on the issue.

In recent days, drivers around the country have received messages to confirm the detection of violations, namely phone usage and lack of seatbelt use.

“I received multiple violation messages from Metrash2 stating that I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt on the same day multiple times,” Ali, a Qatari road user told Doha News.

“This means there are hundreds of cameras spread across the country at close distances. This might cause issues for people who forget to wear their belts in emergencies and in a rush. Time to buckle up Qatar,” he added.

However, he described the rules against using mounted phones and screens as “unnecessary”.

“I believe that a violation for using a mounted phone is unnecessary and unneeded. How are we supposed to use maps if we don’t know where we’re going. Are we supposed to get lost?”

Qatari authorities have heightened efforts to stamp out road death injuries and deaths in recent years.

According to the Planning Statistics Authority, 14 deaths were reported throughout the month of June – down from 20 deaths in the previous month. Some 23 major, 582 minor and 13,850 simple accidents were also reported in the same month.

The same month saw 138,766 speeding violations recorded, amounting to 75% of all road violations.

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The traffic monitoring programme is scheduled to commence on 3 September.