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Over 7,000 motorists fined on first day of campaign against phone use

Traffic police to continue issuing fines after week-long campaign

By Rana Husseini - Jul 15,2018 - Last updated at Jul 15,2018

Traffic officials issued 7,586 tickets in various parts of the Kingdom since start of crackdown campaign (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — Police on Sunday announced that traffic officers fined over 7,000 motorists in the first of a seven-day campaign targeting mobile phone use by drivers.

Traffic officials issued 7,586 tickets in various parts of the Kingdom, including 510 tickets issued by Highway Patrol Units, according to a statement by the Public Security Department (PSD).

“The idea behind the campaign is to raise motorists’ awareness about the dangers of using mobiles while driving, which causes drivers to lose control of their vehicles,” the PSD statement stressed. 

In 2008, new provisions were introduced to the Traffic Law entailing a JD15 fine for motorists seen using their mobile phones while driving.

Deputy Director of the Traffic Department and Director of Amman Traffic Division Col. Bassem Kharabsheh said he went on an inspection tour on the first day of the campaign and noticed that motorists “have become more aware and the use of mobiles have slightly decreased”.

“The idea is to raise people’s awareness and to send a message to motorists that we will continue to issue traffic tickets for the use of mobile phones while driving even after the week-old campaign is over,” Kharabsheh told The Jordan Times.

The traffic director said “we might also issue traffic tickets for motorists without stopping them because we have undercover police who might write tickets for violators”.

Kharabsheh had told The Jordan Times in a recent interview that the Traffic Department noticed an increase in accidents that are attributed to mobile use, motorists’ failure to exert full safety precautions while driving, not abiding by traffic safety regulations and sudden changes in traffic lanes.

The traffic director said traffic investigators indicated that many of these accidents “most probably happened because motorists are being distracted while driving and we know that mobile use is surely a contributing factor”.

During a recent meeting with police and traffic officials in the capital, Public Security Department (PSD) Director Maj. Gen. Fadel Hmoud called on the officials to “conduct special security campaigns to combat certain negative phenomena in the society such as firing live ammunition in the air and to increase the monitoring of dangerous traffic violations that are considered dangerous to motorists and pedestrians”.

Most social media users welcomed the decision, saying “this new step by the Traffic Department is badly needed”.

Alaa Ibraheem wrote: “This step should have been taken long time ago. We need such strict laws”.

Saif Aljawabreh added: “Please fine people JD100. Every day we have an entire lane blocked because a motorist or two are playing with their mobile phones.”

Ibrahim Nasasareh wished that the campaign will be permanent.

“I hope that police will continue to fine motorists and would increase the fines on the repeated violators,” Nasasareh wrote on the Traffic Department’s official Facebook page.

The Royal Automobile Club of Jordan (RACJ), which took part in recent global campaigns to promote awareness among drivers, pedestrians and cyclists on the dangers of phone use while driving, noted that drivers are four times more likely to crash while being on the phone, adding that accidents due to road user distraction by mobile phones are “on the rise”.

For drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, only a few seconds of distraction can mean the difference between life and death, the RACJ said.

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