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Speedsters under constant vigil with new hi-tech cameras
July 30, 2013, 11:07 am

A slew of measures including use of hi tech cameras, punitive levy of fines and issuance of instant tickets for traffic violations have been undertaken by the Traffic Affairs Department to ensure safety and security of the people and also streamlining traffic movement.

As a part of its ongoing effort to track rising cases of over speeding, the Traffic Affairs Department has introduced a number of new hi-tech speed cameras in various locations, which effectively calculates vehicles speed within a defined area. By introducing the two camera system, the traffic department hopes to accurately determine average speeds and catch more speeding drivers, as well as other traffic violators.

As many as 120 cameras have been erected with many of them pointing at the mains road and across to zoom in on the speeding vehicles, Lt.General Abdul Fattah Al-Ali, Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs said. "The new technology has proved efficient as around 12,000 tickets have been issued in a month, he added. Each of these cameras has a coverage radius of 1 mile and is equipped with a zoom feature.

Tickets will be issued for anyone who is driving rashly on the road, especially for cars driving hazardously on the left lane. Also, the cameras show the department the cars responsible for accidents on the road, ensuring they reach the spot quickly. According to Lt. General Al-Ali, the Department has plans to increase the number of cameras by the end of this month, from 120 to 250. Unlike the traditional speed cameras, which work by photographing speeding vehicles, the new one uses a system of two separate cameras. The first one photographs each car, registering its details and time of entering the precisely measured zone covered.

The second camera, meanwhile, registers the exact time at which the vehicle leaves the zone. Motorists driving at normal speeds will take 10 minutes or more to drive the distance between one camera and the next. But those breaking the speed limit will take a shorter period. Lt. General Al-Ali said that the fine should be settled within a period of two months, failing which a travel ban will be issued. That person will not be allowed to fly or leave the country until he has settled his traffic fine through either the online site or traffic department. This is similar to the measures taken by the phone and telecom companies, who have stamped travel bans on people who have failed to pay their bills. However, the new system does not only target speeding drivers, they also enable the traffic department at the Ministry 

of Interior to be constantly aware of the road conditions, particularly traffic bottlenecks, congested roundabouts as well as the functionality of traffic lights. These new cameras alert the traffic department as to how to deploy its fleet of cruisers and at what hours to ensure the smooth flow of traffic, in particular during rush hours. The cameras are also being used to supplement the work of traffic police, who have recently been carrying out an inspection campaign to weed out bad drivers and penalize those who violate traffic rules and regulations.

The cameras are located mostly on the main roads, and can even catch drivers who are parking their vehicles in no-parking zones. Since Lt. General Al-Ali has been in charge of the Traffic Affairs Department, the results are optimistic. There have been 53 deaths due to vehicle accidents, but the number has dropped to 21 in this month. This means that the officers in charge are taking care of the roads, and upholding the traffic laws, observed Lt. General Al-Ali, who believes the law should apply to everyone.

The Ministry of Interior has urged all drivers to drive at the speed limit stipulated by the law, to pay attention to road signs, avoid texting and/or using cell phones in general while driving and to wear their seat belts. This new system enables the Traffic Department to be alert and monitor all the problems and violations that occur on the road, in an effort to improve the current situation in the country. 

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