No More Licenses For Expats
A car in Kuwait is a necessity and not merely a means of mobility. Therefore, any proposal to prevent people from this right is unjustified, but nevertheless, such calls continue. MP Safaa Al-Hashem recently submitted a proposal to stop the issuance of driving licenses (first-time) to expatriates, with an exception for domestic workers, for a period of one year until new solutions are developed for the traffic crisis, new control methods are found and until the completion of ongoing road projects.
I am familiar with such demands, but why the exception for household workers, because to me these category of workers don’t need a driving license in the first place! Hashem also called to automatically link the driving licenses of expatriates with their work permits to prevent forgery and exceptions by wasta. Other demands in the proposal included that no driving license be issued to any expat unless they hold a driving license from their home country that is certified from the embassy of Kuwait in their country.
I agree with any call to organize the large number of cars and roads in Kuwait, but I doubt such a proposal will solve the problem. Many developed countries have considered several solutions such as allocating special lanes for vehicles and changing road directions at peak times. I also do not know the objective of enlarging roundabouts without traffic lights to organize traffic flow!
If we want to reduce the number of vehicles, we should have an alternative, such as how to develop public transportation, control taxis, and build a metro, because we all know that taxi services are not fully effective or sufficient, and are uncontrolled. The problem of traffic is due to two reasons – firstly, drivers’ lack of awareness and respect of traffic laws, and secondly, the roads, the engineering systems, as well as the geographical locations of residential areas. This matter is in the hands of all ministries of Kuwait and not just the traffic department.
Heavy traffic congestion in the streets of Kuwait is a big problem, and for years, the General Administration of Traffic set many conditions for issuing driving permits for expatriates, including the condition of a minimum salary and others, but this did not prevent the increase in cars and accidents, whether minor or deadly.
The Traffic Department has the right to maintain street order and call for the reduction of road accidents, but prevention will be the solution. We need to find fair solutions – for example, why can’t every company provide buses for its workers and employees from their workplaces to their homes?
The need for a car has led some expats to change their job titles on the work permit and lie about their salary on paper. They also tend to become prey for visa traffickers and corrupt people because of their need. The traffic problem is increasing and is present in all countries of the world, so the secret is in finding the correct solutions.
By Muna Al-Fuzai