KUWAIT: Roads across Kuwait came to a standstill on Sunday as motorists got stuck in heavy traffic jams for extended periods of time, as students of public schools, Arab private schools and universities began the new academic year. The General Traffic Department had urged people dropping children to school to leave home early in the morning and use GPS to find alternative routes to avoid being stuck in traffic jams.

More than 42,000 students started the new academic year at Kuwait University, while around 204,000 students started the new academic year at public and Arab private schools on Sunday, including an estimated 43,346 kindergarten students and 160,745 elementary school students. Around 129,832 middle school students and 91,578 high school students start classes on Oct 2. Kindergartens also witnessed the return of school meals after they were suspended during the coronavirus pandemic. School buses have returned only for private schools and religious institutions this semester, and will extend to all schools from the second semester onwards.

As traffic jams return, the Cabinet has received a report on new regulations to issue driving licenses from next year, which the new government will submit after the National Assembly elections. "The report affirmed that the number of licenses in Kuwait is large and there are violations that shouldn't continue due to their security dangers, which also cause traffic jams on the streets," sources told Kuwait Times, adding licenses issued to expats exceed those issued to Kuwaitis (expats make up two-thirds of Kuwait's population).

Sources said the report asks the interior ministry to revisit driving license issuance, as many expats obtained their licenses without meeting the required conditions, such as the minimum salary and professional requirements, calling on the interior ministry to suspend the licenses of all violators. Also, some expats received their licenses when their salaries were over KD 600, but later moved to a lower-paying job, so their licenses will be suspended. Sources said the report requests not allowing vehicles older than 15 years to be driven on the streets due to their negative impact on the environment, as they choke traffic and consume excess gasoline.