Bahrain King approves tough new traffic law
Manama, July 24, 2014
Bahrain's tough new traffic law, which quadruples some punishments for motoring offences,was ratified by His Majesty King Hamad last night.
The new law prescribes jail terms of up to six months and fines of up to BD500 ($1,319), or both, for deliberately jumping a red light, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
But it excludes a controversial clause that barred expatriates from driving unless their jobs required it.
The new law has been pending for seven years and will replace existing legislation dating back to 35 years.
Parliament first inserted the article banning some expats from getting driving licences into the draft traffic law and MPs refused to omit it because they claimed that most traffic offences are committed by expatriates. Shura Council later approved it because they did not want the entire 64-article law to be shelved.
However, a plea went out to His Majesty to refer the article to the Constitutional Court to ensure it is not in breach of the constitution. It was referred to the court by Royal Order dated June 25.
The court said earlier this month the article is not in compliance with provisions of the constitution.
Traffic authorities earlier told the GDN that the new law will enhance road safety and ensure smooth flow of traffic.
They pointed out it will empower policemen to crack down on dangerous driving which is causing carnage on Bahrain's roads. Statistics showed that road accidents have claimed the lives of 175 people over the past two years.
His Majesty also ratified plans to scrap the Manama Municipal Council and replace it with a general secretariat made up of 10 members of different NGOs.
The move follows allegations that the council had deviated from municipal work to become a political platform. - TradeArabia News Service