People working in some 240 professions are now barred from obtaining driver’s licenses in Qatar, according to a new list issued by the government.

The list has been updated in the past month to add some 80 new professions, driving schools who received the circular have confirmed.

They include pharmacy assistants, accounting technicians, photographer’s assistants, sailors and skilled tradesmen such as plasterers and electricians.

“There are so many people on the roads. Perhaps the government thinks there are so many professions which don’t need a driving license,” one instructor, who asked to be unnamed, told Doha News.

The list was updated by the Ministry of Interior (MOI), which first blocked some 160 jobs roles three years go.

The initial list focused on laborers and jobs related to the construction industry, but also included cooks, hairdressers, cashiers, grocery store workers and photographers.

Who’s affected

The new instructions were recently issued by the ministry’s Traffic Department to driving schools across the country.

The ban relates to job titles stated on the Residency Permits (RP) of individuals who are sponsored by a company.

The ministry has not publicly shared the list, but according to the Peninsula, other professions affected by the recent ban include: newspaper sellers, security guards, porters, shepherds, tailors, goldsmiths, agricultural workers, mining technicians and decorator’s assistants.

Lesley Walker

Speaking to Doha News, Adel Salem, manager of Al Rayah Driving School in Al Messilah said that people with jobs on the list can’t get a driver’s license or take lessons.

He added the restrictions have hurt business, which is down about 20 percent compared to before the list was first introduced.

Busy roads

As the population grows and the country’s roads become more crowded, Qatar authorities have been working to improve driver’s training.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) announced a unified set of rules and regulations for all driving schools in the country, in an effort to standardize training.

80 more professions banned from driving on Qatar’s roads
Raja Raman/Flickr

The changes come amid a push to reduce the number of deaths and injuries as a result of traffic accidents in the country.

Government figures for the first half of this year showed that while the number of fatalities has fallen compared to the same period last year, there have been more injuries.

Qatar’s National Road Safety Strategy aims to cut the annual number of fatalities to 130 and injuries to 300 by 2020.