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Applying rules strictly will bring more sanity on roads Many support new hi-tech cams

IN THIS week’s online poll the Arab Times asked voters their opinion about traffic speed limits in Kuwait. Respondents didn’t express much grouse with the existing system.

About 60% of the voters said that implementing the existing rules strictly above all other concerns of nationality or class would be enough to bring more sanity on the roads. Respondents shared their experiences where violators were accorded different treatments by the authorities based on their influence and clout.

One citizen recalled an experience where a good advice did the trick for him. He was once speeding down a road after a long day at work. “I was very tired and just wanted to get home and hit the bed. I was driving at above 200 kmph. It was late in the night and the road was vacant. “When I stopped at the signal, I heard a traffic police car sounding the alarm from behind me. When I looked out, I saw this policeman walking up to me. He ordered me out of the car and asked me if I was aware of at what speed I was going. I was confused, and he told me that he had been chasing me for a long time and was unable to catch up with me at my speed. I was shocked.” However, the policeman did not give him a ticket and instead decided to give him a small talk on the stupidity of speeding. The amount of time a person saves by speeding compared to a person driving within limit is hardly 2 to 3 minutes, which is just not worth the risk.

Expatriate respondents were quick to point out that that was discrimination. “How often does an expatriate get let off with a word of advice?” they asked. This kind of double standard has to end for speed limits to have any effect. Others were of the opinion that speed is a relative phenomenon. “The speed of the co-motorists on the road influences your speed. When you have everybody speeding at 200 kmph, it would be impossible to stick under 120 kmph.”

About 15 % of the voters favored the hi-tech speed cams that are due to get implemented in Kuwait. Cameras that measure not just the speed of car at one spot, but its average speed over a distance. “We often find cars slowing down while passing by cameras. But the moment they get away from the camera they speed up again. This does not reduce accidents. However, if you have intermittent cameras every kilometer, and the average speed of a car between the two cameras can be measured, it would be a big deterrent for speedsters.”

About 11 % of the voters felt that it’s time that speed limits are made more stringent because the traffic has increased with no corresponding improvement in roads. “This has made roads more dangerous than what they were 10 years ago, and so there’s a need to re-look speed limits.” A small minority of voters were against speed limits. They would like to see it more relaxed. Some of the reasons they cite are that its slowing down traffic and that it’s too limiting at some places.


By: Valiya S. Sajjad Arab Times Staff

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