GCC to E-link Traffic Violations
With Eid season approaching us, many holidaymakers will be left wondering whether they’re about to receive a fine for an offense committed while driving in a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) state. So far, many drivers may bend rules while driving abroad thinking that having left the country they were visiting, the fine can be ignored. However, this can change very soon! According to news reports, the working group, tasked with linking traffic violations among the general traffic departments of the GCC states, is making the finishing touches to the much-anticipated unified traffic system linking all the Gulf states. Primarily, this system aims to improve road safety and facilitate cross-border enforcement of traffic laws among GCC member states.
Below, we will explore what might happen if you receive a traffic violation ticket while driving in the GCC, and its impact on your car insurance rates. Read on to learn more.
Think you can avoid picking up any traffic violation fines simply by driving back to the country? Think again! Currently, Gulf states are working on launching a unified system to enhance standardization and exchange procedures among traffic departments. To explain, this system allows authorities in one GCC country to access data held by another GCC country in order to identify and penalize drivers who commit traffic violations while driving abroad. This includes offenses such as speeding, and bypassing red lights.
Put simply, if you commit a violation while driving in Kuwait, UAE, or any other GCC country, the fine will effectively follow you back home to where you can still be charged!
How does it work?
Supposedly, if a Saudi citizen or resident commits a traffic violation during their visit to Bahrain, they will first receive instant text messages on their mobile phones. Normally, drivers learn about their traffic violations as they arrive at the car insurance point when entering the border, or as they cross the checkpoint on their way back home.
The sources indicated that the new system will record the violation data under the title External Violation. This system will allow the driver the right to object to a traffic violation and pay the fine without the need to pay in the host country; Provided that the fine will amount to the currency equivalent. Once the fine is collected in the country of residence (Saudi), it will automatically be sent to the Traffic Violations Collection Department towards the fine recorded in the country of violation (Bahrain.)
Similarly, any Bahraini citizen or resident who visits Saudi and commits a traffic violation will be obliged to pay the fine upon return to Bahrain. Of course, this can lead us to the next question, how much do fines cost around the Gulf?
Traffic violations & their fines across the GCC
While traffic laws are fairly consistent across all GCC countries, the actual fines attached to offenses vary significantly and, in some countries, could be way higher than what you expected!
Let’s take a look at the most common traffic violations— particularly speeding and jumping red lights—and their fines in the GCC.
Speeding is one of the most common driving offenses in the Gulf countries, and fines for this offense vary from one country to another. See the table below
|Amount for exceeding the speed limit by 20-30 km/h
|QR 500 + 100 for every 10 km/hour of speed to the maximum penalty of QR. 1000.
Jumping red lights
Jumping red lights is another extremely dangerous traffic violation; because it has severe consequences. Here’s how much it could cost to jump a red light in any GCC country.
|SAR 3000 – 6000
|BHD 100 – 500
What happens if you don’t pay your GCC fines?
No matter how tempting it may seem, you shouldn’t ignore any fines — especially, a fine from a trip abroad! Mainly because those fines can add up very quickly and it can be hard to keep up later! Additionally, there are several good reasons why you should pay fines in a timely manner. In Bahrain, for example, you get a 50% reduction if you manage to pay your fine within a week. After that, you will have to pay the full amount of the fine stipulated in the law.
Besides, once Saudi starts implementing the new system, all foreign traffic fines will be treated the same way as local fines. For example, if you have any external violation, you will not be able to issue or renew a passport before sorting out your unpaid traffic fines. Also, it would be impossible to add an external authorized person if the car owner or its authorized driver has any unpaid fines. In a nutshell, you may find out later that future trips come with additional difficulties!
How can this system impact your car insurance?
Generally, traffic violations can result in hefty fines or legal fees, but they can also cost you in the form of car insurance hikes.
Although insurance companies pay more attention to the number of accidents and insurance claims than they do to traffic violations, traffic violations can also hike your insurance costs. The more serious your violation, the higher the car insurance price
To determine the price of a policy, insurance companies review the driver’s traffic record in search of any signs indicating the possibility of an accident or filing a claim in the future. If your traffic record shows a history of accidents and traffic violations, this sends a message to insurance companies that you are engaging in reckless driving behavior and may file a claim very soon. Therefore, you are likely to pay a higher price for your car insurance.
In contrast, insurance companies consider those with clean records to be less dangerous due to their commitment to safe driving habits. As a result, having a record free of traffic violations or accidents will help you save money by getting a cheaper insurance rate and eligibility for Najm discount.
Learn about local laws
Overall, the soon-to-launch unified system will link all the GCC traffic departments through a unified mechanism for the payment of fines, ensuring that everyone who has committed any traffic violation, in any part of the GCC, does not escape the penalties. Experts expect this move to reduce traffic violations and accidents in the future.
Finally, we advise you to learn about the traffic laws of the destination country before you travel. Remember that ignorance of the law is not an excuse and that you would be liable to legal action if you commit a traffic violation. One last tip: If you are looking for the best car insurance when traveling, be sure to buy comprehensive insurance that covers multiple drivers, and offers a geographical expansion that covers accidents outside Saudi Arabia. All you have to do is compare car insurance rates to get your policy online within minutes!