$175 million in traffic fines expected in Kuwait
Kuwait is expected to collect around $175 million (Dh643 million) in traffic fines this year, according to local estimates.
The figure is based on the KD5 million (Dh64 million) amount collected from traffic violations in April, a local report has said.
“The huge amount for April is the result of the numerous campaigns conducted by the traffic authorities,” security sources said, quote by local Arabic daily Al Rai on Monday. “The authorities have also adopted a stricter policy in collecting the state’s dues and arrears from companies, organisations and individuals,” the sources said.
Some fines of up to KD3,000 had to be paid before companies or individuals could receive documents required for their business or transaction, such as insurances and licenses, according to the sources.
“The estimates for this year are around KD50 million, which is the double of the regular annual revenues and which were between KD25 million and KD30 million,” the sources said.
Kuwait this year launched several campaigns in a bid to restore order to increasingly chaotic roads and reform a driving culture that has caused heavy losses in lives and property damage.
The crackdown and awareness campaigns have been held in all parts of the country and every week, the traffic authorities give out the number of drivers they booked and the number of cars they impounded for grave violations. However, the campaign drive took an unexpected turn after the police were accused of using it to facilitate the deportation of thousands of foreign drivers for serious violations.
But Abdul Fattah Al Ali, the assistant undersecretary for traffic, dismissed the claims that the crackdown on reckless drivers was used as an excuse to deport foreigners.
“There is no abuse or oppression of the expatriates,” he said. “The law is simply being implemented and it is implemented equally to all. We do value the contributions of the expatriate community and we do reiterate our commitment to upholding the human rights of all people, be they citizens or residents. We also appreciate the role of human rights activists and organisations,” he said.
However, the official added that “claiming that the traffic authorities are using simple road violations to deport foreigners was totally untrue and lacked credibility.”
Social networks and microblogs have been highly critical of the deportation decision after a Kuwaiti official said that 1,258 foreigners had been sent home for traffic violations in a crackdown that began about a month ago.
The authorities said that only serial violators who were putting the lives of other drivers and pedestrians at risk had been deported.
“What hurts us the most is when a family loses its provider, when a family loses its mother, when parents lose their children and when in some cases, an entire family is lost,” Al Ali said.