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Thousands of number plates modified to escape fines

Amira Agarib / 24 August 2013

More than 4,000 drivers have been caught with modified car number plates in a deliberate attempt to escape police — and traffic fines.

The General Department of Traffic of the Dubai Police said through footage captured by speed cameras and radars, it had recorded 4,200 traffic violations against drivers who intentionally manipulated their car number plates, in the first six months of the year.

The investigative teams of traffic police found manipulators were using various inventive techniques to change their plate numbers, such as painting over existing numbers or placing a screw in the middle of a ‘0’, to make it appear as an ‘8’. In other cases, people had transformed the letter “E” into a “T” or modified the letter “H” to become an “A”.

One driver, who had placed the emblem of the state in the middle of the number plate to disguise his number, had committed more than 30 traffic violations — racking up penalties of Dh52,000 in the process.

Director of the General Department of Traffic Director Major-General Mohammed Saif Al Zafin said police were working to track down all the drivers in a bid to confiscate their cars. So far, police teams had confiscated 326 vehicles during the first half of this year from drivers who had racked up traffic violations or had not renewed their car registration.

Police have also issued circulars against 403 other car drivers, who also had other traffic violations, which meant all police patrols were on alert to track down those cars.

The remaining cars still needed to be identified and tracked. Major-General Al Zafin pointed out modifications appeared to be a phenomenon that had begun after a number of traffic violations recorded by speed cameras were cancelled for various reasons such as the lack of clarity of the plate numbers — either intentional or unintentional by the driver.

He said police had managed to recover traffic fines worth tens of thousands of dirhams and had also referred a number of drivers to police stations for further action, as a result of tracking down the drivers.

Major-General Al Zafin said the vanity of some motorists made them commit multiple traffic violations, in the belief they would never be caught by police.


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