The New Traffic Law

Lawmakers on Sunday began deliberating the long-awaited draft traffic-law amid hopes that the new legislation would discourage reckless driving and reduce deadly road accidents.

The draft stipulates that drivers who cause the death of an individual in a road accident will face a six-month prison term and/or fine ranging between JD1,000 and JD2,000 and will also have their driving license suspended for a minimum of six months to a maximum of one year.

But the Legal Committee, which studied and endorsed the bill with minor changes, reduced the incarceration period in such cases to three months.


This amendment was disputed, much to my surprise, by Legal Committee member Mahmoud Kharabsheh, who sent a letter to Lower House speaker Abdul Hadi Majali demanding tougher punishments against “road criminals”. Kharabsheh was one of the members who were against changing the laws regarding honor crimes in 2000, because according to him, that would be “an invitation to obscenity,” since “females are the ones who take the initiative and demonstrate consent to committing adultery.”

Good for him.

But back to the subject. I think that in traffic accidents, where the driver is proven to be at fault, 6 months is too short a sentence. 6 months isn’t going to discourage reckless drivers out there, it is hardly a slap on the wrist for someone who took another’s life because they like speeding, so let alone 3 months. But then again, it’s not always the driver’s fault. Naseem points out how in many cases, pedestrians can be just as irresponsible as the drivers. We need to figure out a formula so that drivers will not be wrongfully accused, but at the same time combat this massive problem we seem to be having.

I long for the day when I open a newspaper and not find a report about a number of citizens who lost their lives in a car accident.


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