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Saudi Arabia: Stringent Penalties on Drifting | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Saudi youths demonstrate a stunt known as “sidewall skiing” (driving on two wheels) in the northern city of Hail, in Saudi Arabia March 30, 2013. Performing stunts such as sidewall skiing and drifts is a popular hobby amongst Saudi youths. REUTERS/Mohamed Al Hwaity

Riyadh- Saudi Arabia increased the penalty posed against the offense of drifting twenty fold. This strict decision was taken to counter a social phenomenon that proved detrimental to both drifters and pedestrians, not to mention other crimes that are usually committed by the drifter including stealing cars and drug trafficking.

The minimum drifters’ penalty in Saudi Arabia was approximately SAR1, 000 and the maximum SAR2, 000, before the Council of Ministers approved the modification of traffic law.

For the first offense, the drifter would receive a SAR 20, 000 penalty in addition to the car being impounded for 15 days.

Second time offenders would be fined SAR40, 000 and would be referred to court to determine the jail sentence. The cars would also be impounded for a 30-day period.

Third time violators would be fined SAR 60,000 and the court would look into confiscating the vehicle permanently.

“The drifter does not harm himself only but the society as well”, said Dr. Thuraya al-Areed, member of the Saudi Shoura Council. “This decision will quickly put an end to this phenomenon, since tolerant punishments leave the door more open for breaching the law”, added al-Areed.

Dr. Areed stressed that penalties are not exaggerated because drifting offences are considered willful and not accidental or surprising. She continued that the procedures being taken go along with the vision plans in Saudi Arabia which encompasses many sectors such as tourism, education and culture.

Studies revealed that juvenile attitudes and tendencies to drift are attributed to unemployment and the absence of entertainment alternatives; however current economic and development reforms are tackling such incentives.

In the same context, Aramco conducted a survey in 2014 that expected road injuries in Saudi Arabia to reach 57,000 while tangible damages would total SAR14 billion. Death toll is expected to reach 9,604 cases in 2019, added the survey.