Several citizens have called for stricter measures to curtail the continuing rise in the number of new cars and new drivers in the country, saying the government ban on some categories of expatriate workers from obtaining a driver’s licence is not effective.
They say several companies have surpassed the decision issued in 2013 by changing the profession of their employees on record only to make them eligible for a driver’s licence.
Barring some segments of expatriates from driving is not enough to curb the rapid rise in the number of new cars hitting the roads every day, citizens said.
There should also be limits on the number of cars a citizen can own, they feel.
Car dealers in the country have also reported record sales this year, especially for privately owned vehicles, adding more pressure on the roads and worsening the traffic situation.
Citing the latest data of the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, a local Arabic daily reported that the number of new vehicles registered in Qatar increased by 18.6 percent in one month while the number of new driver’s licences issued during the period went up by 16.3 percent.
“The increasing pressure on the roads is basically due to the increasing population.
“The latest data shows that driver’s licences issued to citizens increased by 2.9 percent while those for expatriates rose by 17 percent. This indicates that the decision to bar some workers from having a driver’s licence has had no impact,” a citizen named Ibrahim Al Yafee was quoted as saying.
He said issuing new licences should be linked to the capacity of the roads in the country and the practice of changing professions to obtain a driver’s licence should be curtailed.
“There should also be restrictions on ownership of cars by citizens. A citizen should not be allowed to have more than two cars,” he said.
He said many Qataris have many cars — one for driving in the desert, one for office, one for leisure trips, one for travelling abroad and so on.
Another citizen, Abdullah Al Mohannadi, said many car rental companies are getting road permits for different types of cars without any restriction.
Several expatriates operating private taxis are hiring cars from them on long-term basis.
According to Eisa Al Hammadi, the roads in the country are not expanding proportionate to the increasing number of cars.
“The practice of changing professions should be curtailed. There is a need for an investigation before issuing licences to new drivers,” said Al Hammadi.
There are also citizens who view the phenomenon as a natural outcome of the burgeoning population in the country which has now crossed 2.26 million.
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