Wednesday, October 13, 2010

  The new driving laws came into effect recently in Morocco.  Now, when drivers violate the rules of the road and get caught, they will lose points on their driving permit.  There are associated fines with the violations, too, and in certain extreme incidents, jail time.  The rules are many and I found them online in French and trying read it all was pretty overwhelming.  The website now seems to be down or I would have linked it here. 

However, not much has changed on the road except people are slowing down their speed.  They are still running red lights, driving on the wrong side, passing on both sides and breaking all the 'rules'; this morning I came face to face with a bus on a one way street - and no, I was not the one going the wrong way!  There are supposed to be traffic cameras and radars in place watching our road antics, but maybe not in Fes yet.  Spot checks have taken place regarding the first aid kits and fire extinguishers, none of which can be had in local stores.  So...

Pedestrians can also be fined for exposing themselves to danger.  That can qualify as almost anything you do in a Moroccan street.  Simply crossing from one side to the other is exposure to danger.  There is a certain element of recklessness in crossing without looking - that classic refusal to engage in eye contact in order to pretend it's not your fault - which is how most people do it.  Other favored methods of entering the street are running from between parked cars, vaulting off the bus and darting in front of it into oncoming traffic, and of course, chasing something or somebody.  There seems to be a perception of the street as open space free for all and not restricted to moving vehicle traffic. 

It's early yet, but my suspicion is that once the novelty wears off , it will be business as usual on the road.