Several cars seized by the Traffic Department for violating rules remain ignored by the owners due to pending court cases and heavy fines that could exceed their market price.
Lieutenant Mohammed Safar Al Kuwari, in charge of the vehicle detention and investigation centre in the Industrial Area, said among the cars unclaimed are many new models.
“The owners seem to be reluctant to take their cars by paying the fines. There are many cars seized by the centre that remain ignored by the owners for as long as six months.”
The cars are seized for various legal reasons, including pending court cases and accumulated fines for breaching traffic rules,” Al Kuwari told Al Shurta Maak (Police with You), the in-house magazine of the Interior Ministry.
Normally such cars are kept at the centre for a maximum of six months. After that the department makes an announcement in the media that they will be auctioned after a week. The owner can come and pay the fine.
If he doesn’t turn up, the car is auctioned and proceeds go the government. The owner is the loser because in any case he must pay up the fine which recorded in his name as his ID number is known.
On average some 500 cars are seized every month for various violations. For instance, the department confiscated 670 vehicles in July but 350 of these cases were settled by the owners, said Al Kuwari.
A vehicle is seized only if it is involved in some serious violations such as the driver not having a valid licence, failure to renew the road permit or using old number plates. Vehicles are confiscated not only for violations of traffic rules but also for other offences.
The official said the department had started imposing fines on vehicles using old number plates, after the grace period for changing the plates had expired.
Vehicles involved in stunt driving or reckless driving can also be impounded. Making modifications without approval from the department or tinting the glasses in a way that affects road safety and public security can also lead to seizure, explained Al Kuwari.
Owners have been given 45 days grace period to renew the road permit (Istimara). Still they can drive the car for six months, but will have to pay QR1,500 as fine when renewing the road permit. Any vehicle on the road for more than six months after expiry of the road permit will be impounded and the owner will be able to take it back only after renewing the permit and paying up the fine, said the official.
Drink-driving and driving a badly damaged vehicle are among offences that can also result in confiscation.