Friday, September 23, 2016

Stunt Driving, From Popular Pastime to a Major Health & Safety Hazard

Saudi youths demonstrate their driving stunts/skills, also known as sidewall skiing (driving on two wheels)
Photo Credit: Reuters via Arab News
The long stretch of desert roads and the strong car culture of Saudi Arabia makes stunt driving or "sidewall skiing" (driving on two wheels) a popular hobby of Saudi young people. Drifting or "Haglawah" involves incredibly skilled drivers doing a balancing act of the moving car on one side. It is usually done by driving one pair of wheels up on the road while the other passengers get out on the other side of the car.  There are times when the thrilled passengers change the suspended tires while the car is on drifting process.

Because of the safety risks, the Cabinet has been taking stringent measures against stunt-driving. During their meeting sometime in August this year, the Cabinet made major amendments to the articles of the Traffic Law to give tougher penalties for traffic violations. 

Among those reported amended in Article 69 of the Traffic Law was to make stunt driving a traffic violation. Violators will face the seizure of vehicle for 15 days and a fine of SR20,000 for first violation, the seizure of vehicle for 30 days and a fine of SR40,000 for second violation.

In both cases, the violator will be referred to the court to examine carrying out jail term.

For third violation, the vehicle will be seized and a fine of SR60,000 will be slapped, and the violator will be referred to the court.

The seizure or confiscation of vehicle will not be applicable to rented or stolen vehicles.

Below is a Table of Penalties for Haglawah.

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