CAIRO - 30 August 2017: Driving in Egypt can be a challenging experience, especially in fast-moving cities like Cairo and Alexandria where there are thousands, if not millions, of trucks, buses, cars, motorcycles and pedestrians sharing the same infrastructure.
Busy roads, lack of properly marked lanes and, more critically, a drastic lack of awareness and poor implementation of laws, all make for chaotic traffic.
Responsible government bodies, in cooperation with nongovernmental organizations and grass-roots initiatives, continue to work to raise public awareness of the risks associated with various traffic law violations and to strengthen law enforcement, but even those of us who do follow the laws often do so without properly considering safety. We fasten our seatbelts moments before the checkpoint and we put away our phones only if we notice a dedicated cop who might cause us a hassle.
As part of Egypt Today’s With You on the Road Campaign, we explore and present the concepts and justifications behind some of these laws that we follow blindly, as well as shed light on the new proposed traffic law to be discussed shortly in parliament.
In a series of articles, Egypt Today will provide an overview of available traffic frameworks, mechanisms and laws in Egypt, and highlight the importance of each law to save drivers’ and pedestrians’ lives, with a noted focus on safety.
Egypt’s speed limit law
According to Egyptian laws, the maximum speed limit on inner-city roads is 60 km/h. Higher speed limits are allowed on motorways and roads outside cities, reaching 90 km/h and on the desert highway between Cairo and Alexandria, recording 100 km/h.
Designed by Mareez Girgis for Egypt Today
Use of speed camera sensors or detectors is prohibited; drivers who use such devices can be subjected to a fine ranging from LE 500 to LE 1,000 and/or can be sentenced to prison for up to 3 months. Traffic police have the authority to seize such devices.
How can speed limit laws save my life?
Speed limit laws are considered the oldest and most proven strategy to limit traffic crashes and fatalities.
The concept behind setting a permissible driving speed is to simply limit the amount of time required for the driver to stop the vehicle, giving him/her more control over it.
If the driver is driving over than the speed limit, the time and distance required to stop and control the vehicle increases.
Some studies suggest that speed limits also represent an attempt to reduce the environmental impact of road traffic, including vehicle noise and emissions.
In some countries like Australia, it is widely believed that sticking to speed limits reflects on drivers’ behavior in their daily lives, and that when motorists engage in high-risk behavior like speeding, regardless of the consequences, it is an indication of their approach and day-to-day attitude.
Speed limit implementation around the world
In Holland, if caught doubling the speed limit, the driver’s car is permanently seized on the spot.
Finland and Denmark calculate an appropriate speeding ticket based on the offender’s yearly income and the severity of the offense, not exceeding $200,000.
In Norway and Iceland, the highest fines reach 10 percent of the annual income, in addition to jail time in Norway.
In Canada, fines range between $1,000 and $25,000, while the highest fines in the U.S. reach $2,500.
Speed limits on urban roads by country 2013 - photo courtesy of WHO
Egypt’s newly proposed traffic law:
The new law suggests establishing a points system. The license holder will be given 30 points. With each violation, he/she loses a point or more.
When all points are deducted, the driver’s license is suspended for 30 days. To get the license back, the driver must enroll in an accredited driving school to learn more about the traffic laws.
Upon exceeding the speed limit, there are four penalties depending on the travelled distance. maximum fine is LE 500 and the driver would lose 2-5 points as a penalty.
In case of using speed camera detectors, the driver loses 5 points as a penalty, in addition to the fine.