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Friday, 27 August 2010

Qatar to issue new number plates for vehicles

Qatar will have new vehicle number plates with the state's name embossed in English, Traffic Department director Brig Gen Mohamed Saad al-Kharji said yesterday. 

The numbers i
n English on the new licence plates will also be larger than now, he said. 

Plans for the new number plates are going ahead. We are waiting for the material to arrive in Qatar," the official said. 

The number of vehicles on Qatar's roads continues to rise at the rate of approximately 10,000 a month. 

Referring to tints on vehicle windows, Al-Kharji clarified that modifications can be done only on the side windows of the back seats after paying a fee of QR20; all others must remain clear for reasons of safety and security. 

Asked about those who drive without registration or motorists who have accumulated huge fines, al-Kharji said the Traffic Department was keeping a tab on them. 

"Our system (computer) automatically alerts us when a driver has reached all the points on the licence or has incurred fines running into thousands. We then send this to our patrol teams who trace the vehicle (and the driver) in question and ask them to clear the records," al-Kharji said. 

Insurance companies refusing to offer insurance cover to a vehicle could face a minimum fine of QR10,000, the Traffic Department director said.

"In such cases, a person can go to the nearest police station and file a complaint and action will be taken. These things now result in fines for the providers."

Explaining the new by-laws which have been added to the Traffic Law No19 of 2007, the official said the insurance companies will have to clear the claims within 10 days of getting the police report.
The by-laws, part of the evolving  traffic laws of the country, come into effect from August 28. 

Among other things, under the new by-laws, third party insurance premiums for vehicles have been raised. Fees to obtain or renew driving licences too have been increased. 

For four-cylinder vehicles the third-party premium is now QR400 and for six-cylinder four-wheel vehicles it is QR600. The fee for driving licences for expatriates is QR250 (five years), while for citizens it is QR500 for light and medium categories (10 years).

"Insurance premiums in Qatar were one of the lowest compared to other countries in the GCC," al-Kharji said. 

The official also defended adding theory classes at driving schools. 

The by-laws make it mandatory for half-a-dozen driving schools operating in the country to have at least 15 hours of theory and 35 hours of practical curriculum. 

"Driving schools have been given one year to implement these changes, as we realise they must hire qualified trainers, IT trainers, computers and other associated items," al-Kharji said. 

"We remain in consultation with the industry and the provision for 15 hours could be changed to 10 hours. It is an evolution after all," he added. 

"Booklets in English and Arabic on traffic laws will be made available soon to motorists in the country," he said.

- Gulf Times, 27th Aug 2010

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