2/19/2012Speed Cameras Growing Unpopular in Saudi Arabia
Public dissatisfaction with speed cameras grows in Saudi Arabia as systems issue six tickets per minute.
The photo radar systems known as "Saher" are increasingly unpopular in Saudi Arabia according to a government poll. The Riyadh Traffic Department surveyed the public online with the loaded question, "Do you support the strict enforcement of traffic regulations with equality and transparency?" Despite the benign wording, 39 percent of the 44,497 residents responded that they do not support the principle, knowing it referred to the use of speed cameras, Dar Al Hayat reported.
These automated ticketing machines issued 2,953,894 tickets last year, down from 3,015,473 the previous year due to vigilante attacks on the camera systems. This still represents 8200 tickets issued per day, or 6 tickets every minute.
Prominent Saudi leaders, including Sheikh Abdel Mohsen Obeikan, have spoken out against what they see as a hypocritical program. The same mobile vans issuing tickets "strictly" are themselves parked illegally on sidewalks. Obeikan also found the system of fines contrary to Islamic teaching, especially the photographing of women in the passenger seat of cars.
As major US cities such as Atlanta, Georgia; Los Angeles, California and Houston, Texas have rejected cameras, photo enforcement companies like Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia have seen significant drops in revenue. As a result, they have depended on expanding programs in the Middle East to remain profitable.