Almost two years ago, there was talk about a new traffic law to be implemented in the country in order to make driving here more civilized. From a new driver’s license that can actually be used abroad and is the size of a regular ID card, to regulations such as those present in developed nations, the law met the fate of almost all other Lebanese laws that try to advance the country: it died at the hand of no enforcement, wastas and Lebanese people who are too macho to follow laws.
Over the past few days, cameras have been set up across the Greater Beirut area to enforce proper stopping at red lights. That is not only actually stopping at a red light, but stopping behind the pedestrian crosswalk which many cars tend to pass mostly because few are those who know those dashed lines – when they can see them – should not be crossed.
With all the confusion surrounding those new fines, I figured the best way to approach this is to find what fines are included in the new law and how much are they. Thanks to Joe Maalouf, I was able to procure pictures of how those fines are classified and, through another source, how those fines are priced.
In general, fines are divided into 5 categories, with increasing severity. Not stopping at a red light (or a stop sign when found) or not stopping before a crosswalk are only a first category fine that would cost you 100,000LL (or about $70). Driving under the influence, however, or doing dangerous maneuvers while driving (betweens and whatnot) or driving with an expired license are category five fines that would cost you 3,000,000LL or $2000.
Of course, all of this wouldn’t be complete without enforcing better driving exams for new drivers as well as enforce those updated driver’s licenses on everyone with the application of a point system from which points are deducted for each fine the driver commits.
Until then, one wonders: where is all the money from these fines going? Will we ever get a country where we, as citizens, can trace how the money the government takes from us is used to make our roads, infrastructure and our lives better? Will those who have wastas also be subject to this? How will the law be enforced on everyone equally?
Until then, don’t fret too much. I landed in Lebanon less than 7 hours ago. On my way home, drivers were doing those $2000 betweens, political convoys almost caused a multiple car crash in their attempt to flex their street muscles and red lights and street lanes were not obeyed, all to the sight of policemen in the vicinity. Crickets.
Welcome to Lebanon. Behold the fines:
Category One Fines:
Illegal parking: 100,000 LL.
Parking on sidewalks: 150,000 LL,
Transportation of workers in pick-up trucks: 150,000 LL,
Using illegal sirens: 150,000 LL.
Category Two Fines:
Going 20km/h above the speed limit: 200,000 LL,
Driving under the speed limit: 200,000 LL,
Modified or worn-out license plates: 200,000 LL,
Doing illegal u-turns: 200,000 LL,
Having non-licensed tinted windows: 250,000 LL,
Driving with an expired driver’s license: 250,000 LL,
Transporting items on a motorcycle: 300,000 LL.
Category Three Fines:
No seatbelt: 350,000 LL,
Wearing an unfastened helmet: 350,000 LL,
Unpaid mechanique: 350,000 LL,
Using the phone while driving: 350,000 LL,
Not wearing a helmet: 400,000 LL,
Children under 5 not placed in a car seat: 450,000 LL,
Children under 10 sitting in the front seat: 450,000 LL,
Not obeying a traffic cop: 450,000 LL.
Category Four Fines:
No license plates on cars: 600,000 LL,
Violating traffic lights: 700,000 LL,
Driving unregistered vehicles: 700,000 LL,
Driving at 40-60km/h above speed limit: 700,000 LL,
Violating one-way roads: 700,000 LL.
Category five fines:
Driving without a license: 2,000,000 LL,
Driving at >60km/h above speed limit: 3,000,000 LL,
Racing: 3,000,000 LL,
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs: 3,000,000 LL,
Dangerous maneuvers while driving: 3,000,000 LL.