Drivers Caught Using Mobile Phones While Driving Will Face Jail Term and a Minimum of SR 500 in Penalties

Saudi Traffic Violation: Traffic accidents happen to be really common in Saudi Arabia and currently, the rate of occurrence for road accidents is pretty alarming at 24 of 100,000 traffic related deaths each year. Since Saudi Arabia has a population of around 30 million, around 7,200 people die due to road mishaps.

Among the reasons for these traffic accidents is using mobile phones while driving. Given the alarming statistics, the Government implemented a new law to address this problem. With the enactment of this law, drivers caught fiddling with their devices while driving will be fined heavily and jailed. General Department of Traffic Safety Director, Brig. Gen. Ali Al-Rashidi said that this law will take immediate effect. A driver found speeding would be sent three text messages, after which they will be asked to appear at the traffic office.
“If the person fails to appear at the given date and time, the department will automatically suspend all his traffic services, and slap a penalty,” he said.

Starting on May 17, there will be sanctions for anyone caught using their mobile phones while driving which  is”

  1. A fine of SR 500 for the first offense
  2. A fine of SR 1,500 for the second offence
  3. A fine of SR 15,000, a one day jail term and confiscation of thr car for 30 days if caught for the third time

Traffic accidents increase by 10 times when the driver is using his mobile phone. These days, around a third of drivers are on their cell and this behavior should be condemned. Drivers should be educated to go off their mobile phones while driving.

Although the Government’s move to address this problem is commendable, the main problem remains –people are not aware of the proper behavior. Plus, only the ones who are “caught” will be punished. This way, people will focus more on avoiding getting caught than actually going off their mobile phones while driving.

Many of us has ridden a car where the driver is on his mobile phone a lot but it would be hard to dissuade people to stop doing it. Of course, the traffic police issue tickets to violators using the automatic Saher ticketing system. In fact, even the police are using mobile phones while driving. A few months back, the new rule on jailing people who cross when the light is red was implemented and there was a significant decrease violation rates when the police followed violators. The same should be done with this new law. The police should play an active role in implementing this to reduce Saudi Arabia’s accident rate.

To ensure that people are no longer using their mobile phones, two things should be done: implement an awareness drive targeting youngsters of the dangers of using mobile phones while driving and punishing violators. Merely punishing violators won’t be enough to make the general public aware of the necessity of driving safely.

h/t: Arab News