Saudi traffic laws focus on correcting behavior
Traffic laws are made and enforced for people’s safety — that of drivers and pedestrians. A road traffic accident is deemed to be a liability if it is due to driver negligence. In today’s article, we will discuss the mechanisms in Saudi Arabia to ensure road safety, and steps involved in the event of an accident.
In case of a road accident, the law stipulates a series of measures, starting with the traffic police and the competent department for accidents, by making sure that all necessary safety measures are taken to ensure the protection of road users. They are supposed to ensure that enough space is available for others, collect initial information from the accident site, determine the degree of danger and inform relevant authorities.
It is forbidden for parties involved in a traffic accident to leave their vehicles or the accident site. They are not allowed to move their vehicles from the site except when required by the relevant traffic authority and only if the accident is minor, the vehicles involved have already been photographed, and their presence at the site poses a danger to public safety or obstructs the flow of traffic.
Each driver who is party to a traffic accident must stop the vehicle at the site of the accident, inform the competent authority and provide possible assistance to the victims. If they fail to do so, they shall be punished with a fine not exceeding SR10,000 ($2,666), or imprisonment for a maximum of three months, or both.
There are clear rules on driving somebody else’s vehicle. If the owner of a vehicle permits someone without a license to drive it, he or she will be responsible for paying compensation for the private right resulting from an accident, as well as additional penalties that the competent court may impose.
Car showrooms are also supposed to follow certain rules in this regard. Showroom owners must not allow any vehicle to leave their premises without completing procedures for transferring its ownership. The prohibitions include finalizing a contract for the sale of a damaged vehicle. The law also prohibits showrooms to selling or renting out a vehicle without obtaining the approval of the competent department.
Strict traffic regulations serve as a deterrent for anyone who lacks a sense of responsibility when using roads, and penalize those who fail to correct their behavior. Laws are in place basically to correct behavior.
A violator has the right to object to a penalty within 30 days from the date that he or she was informed about it. The court will consider accepting the objection beyond the stipulated period if there is a convincing reason. The law gives a violator up to six months to pay a fine.
• Dimah Talal Alsharif is a Saudi lawyer and legal consultant. Twitter: @dimah_alsharif