CAIRO: Although approved by the Shoura Council, the new traffic law is still being hotly debated at the People’s Assembly (PA) by the Defense and National Security and the Transportation committees, according to MP Saber Amer, who is a member of the Defense and National Security committee.
He expects the law to spark controversy, explaining that it “is long and includes many clauses. It will probably take a long time before it is approved by the PA, Amer told Daily News Egypt.
The two most sticking points in the new law, according to Amer, are those dealing with taxi licenses to cars older than 20 years and large trailers.
“The new law prohibits the license renewal of taxis that are older than 20 years, which makes sense technically, but cannot be implemented for economic reasons, Amer said, explaining that the current economic situation makes it impossible for the large number of Egyptian taxi-drivers to survive, this being their sole source of income.
The law will also suspend the licenses of trailers attached to trucks, stipulating that their owners turn them into full standalone transport vehicles.
“This means that truck drivers will lose around LE 120,000, which is the approximate cost of each trailer, Amer said.
However, the new law failed to address the chaotic state of Egypt’s traffic, according to Amer. He said that even though the current law is supposed to regulate traffic, most of its rules are not abided by.
Amer cited a penalty that is “never really implemented on those who drive on the wrong side, and whose licenses are supposed to be suspended after receiving two warnings.
“If a law is not being implemented, then it is pointless, Amer said.
“The problem is with the system, not the actual draft of the law, he continued, expressing his pessimism that the rules of the new traffic law will be followed.
Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that the new traffic law was suspended from parliamentary discussion after it faced opposition from the PA members, who referred it back to the government. However, Amer denied this allegation.
“Al-Masry Al-Youm overestimated the situation; the discussions only got postponed to be resumed in later sessions, he explained.
The Defense and National Security committee indicated in its Saturday session that the number of road accident victims reached 7000 in 2007.
Three members of the PA Defense and National Security committee, Saad Khalifa, Mokhtar Al-Baih, and Abdel Fatah Eid, said that the lack of adherence to industrial standards in cement production and the deteriorating conditions of the roads are the main reasons behind the increase in the number of road accidents.
The also said that police officers do not have the means or authority to penalize drivers who break the law, which in their opinion, leads to more and more road accidents.
The members also asked that the state security forces’ cars “undergo safety inspections, because their conditions are terrible.
According to a Muslim Brotherhood press statement sent to Daily News Egypt, Mohamed Abdel Fattah Omar, deputy head of the Defense and National Security committee, said during a committee meeting, “Unfortunately we are unable to put the Minister of Transportation on trial for bad road conditions.
Omar also added that the way drivers’ licenses are issued in Egypt “are different from anywhere else in the world, referring to the bribery involved in issuing licenses.