More cameras installed to catch risky drivers
August 01 2016 10:31 PM
Senior officials of the Traffic Department addressing the media at the press conference
Senior officials of the Traffic Department addressing the media at the press conference. Picture: Shaji Kayamkulam

By Ayman Adly/Staff Reporter

The Traffic Department has installed 52 cameras in key areas around the country to detect offences such as overtaking from the right, Brigadier Mohamed Saad al-Kharji, director of the Traffic Department, said Monday.

 He said more cameras are planned to be installed to control such risky driving practices.
Speaking on the sidelines of a press briefing called to announce the launch of the new e-service, Brigadier al-Kharji stressed that the Traffic Department is keen to improve its services and enhance smooth traffic flow in the country while maintaining safer roads. He added that due to such efforts, there has been a considerable fall in the number of major accidents and serious injuries resulting from road accidents. "Also, the number of fatalities in road accidents has fallen."
He said the new service will initially target simple accidents, which involve two vehicles without any injuries to the passengers and the damage is limited to the vehicle. "It is a free service, and to benefit from it, the user should have a mobile phone connected to the Internet and equipped with working GPS, where he has the Ministry of Interior (MoI)'s Metrash2 application installed. When a minor road accident (between two vehicles) takes place, on the consensus of the two involved parties, one of them can send a maximum of four clear photographs of the vehicle, showing the number plates of both cars, the site of the accident and the damaged parts. This has to be uploaded through his account with Metrash2."
Brigadier al-Kharji stressed that people involved in such incidents should move the vehicles away from the road to the nearest byroad or emergency parking slot to clear the way for the traffic. He reminded that blocking the way in such cases is considered a traffic violation that stipulates a fine of QR1,000.
If a motorist is not satisfied with the findings of the investigation officer, he can visit the Traffic Department to review the issue with the officer. Also, if any of the parties is not happy with the outcome of the investigation or even the insurance company concerned is not convinced with the report, the matter will be open for further review and investigation.
Asked whether the photographs uploaded through this way and the report obtained accordingly have the required legal sanction in case of the matter going to court, Brigadier al-Kharji said these could serve as proof in court.
Regarding the signals installed at shorter distances along busy roads, he said in collaboration with the Public Works Authority (Ashghal), there is now a system in place where a "green wave" is employed that allows a motorist to drive through uninterrupted. "This could be seen clearly on Al Waab and Al Corniche streets, for example. However, when an ambulance jumps a red light, the wave is broken and it takes some time until it is restored."
Ibrahim Mohamed al-Haremi, director of the Information Systems Department at the MoI's General Directorate of Information Systems, said the new service allowing drivers to register minor accidents through the Metrash2 app was tested ahead of its public launch to make sure that the system was applicable in real-life situations.
He pointed out that the department had conducted an adequate number of trials with dummy accidents to ensure that all the anticipated issues would be addressed. However, he did not rule out the possibility of some issues emerging when the system is widely used.
"We are set to monitor this and there is a technical team that will study any such issue and devise the adequate solutions," he said. Brigadier al-Kharji also said the new service would be assessed and improved in due course.

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