DOHA: The traffic department hopes to launch a recruitment drive for policemen soon, and may employ expatriates in large numbers.
The department is increasing its field staff to cope with the exploding population of the country.
Since the Qatari population is small, the director of the traffic department says they would need to rely on expatriates for staff requirements.
“We would like to recruit citizens in large numbers but since our population is small, we will have to depend on expatriates,” said Brigadier Mohamed Saad Al Kharji.
He said the need for more traffic policemen was dictated by the growing population of both, humans and vehicles. More traffic cops need to be deployed on roads to ensure safety.
However, raising public awareness about road safety is the key since policemen cannot be present on roads all the time and in all places, said the director.
He was taking part in a Ramadan symposium being held by Al Sharq Arabic daily at its premises recently.
Replying to questions, the director said one could now renew his or her driving licence through the post office and a deal to this effect had already been signed with the postal authorities.
Plans are also afoot to introduce the traffic department’s services at the service centres of the Ministry of Interior in outlying areas.
On average, 200 to 300 new cars are being registered by the traffic department daily, he said.
Responding to questions, Al Kharji said there were no plans to nationalise driving schools and they would continue to be owned and run by the private sector.
Two driving schools have been closed for a month as punishment for violating rules, he said, but did not elaborate. He said the closure could be extended to three months if the violation was severe and the school could be closed down permanently if the breach of regulations was more severe.
According to Al Kharji, 90 percent of accidents take place due to errors by motorists. He, however, refused to blame driving schools for poor training of motorists, and in reply to questions said it was his department that conducted driving tests.
Some new driving schools have opened recently after a new rule made it compulsory for driving schools to have a minimum area of 40,000 square metres.
Al Kharji denied rumours that fines for traffic violations had been raised. He said, in response to questions, that there were no plans to reduce fines.
He also said there was no plan to bring down the minimum age for acquiring a driver’s licence from 19 to 17. THE PENINSULA