Police get tough with drivers using hard shoulder

DUBAI - A top traffic official yesterday lashed out at reckless and ignorant motorists, saying their offences, whether out of irresponsible driving or sheer ignorance, are "close to crime and murder".

By A Correspondent

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Published: Sat 11 Oct 2003, 12:10 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 11:33 PM

Policemen have been instructed to exercise zero-tolerance when it comes to violations that involve driving on hard shoulders, said Brigadier Abdul Rahman Mohammed Rafia, Director of Dubai Traffic Police Department.

The statement came as police, in one of the city's districts, fined at least 50 motorists for driving on the hard shoulders, a serious violation that has assumed large proportions in recent months.

"We're determined to curb these violations," said Brig Rafia. "I personally believe reckless driving and ignorance leading to deaths and serious injuries on roads tantamount to crimes and murders," the police official said, in his strongest criticism of motorists continuing to ignore driving discipline.

Dubai, he said, had witnessed a phenomenal growth over the last few years and this has impacted on the traffic situation. However, police and civic authorities have risen to the challenge and have taken all steps to ensure that the traffic situation remains under control.

He said the Emirate Ring Road had, initially, been given a speed limit of 140km per hour. But in view of the city's growth - and the increase in vehicular traffic - the speed limit was reduced to 120km per hour. Brig. Rafia said he wanted people to abide by the speed limits to avoid tragedies and serious injuries on highways, including the Emirates Ring Road that links Abu Dhabi and the Northern Emirates through Dubai.

The official said motorists continued to turn a blind eye to traffic rules and regulations, thus endangering peoples' lives. "Our calls have been falling on deaf ears, and we'd like tell people that we're serious in penalising erring drivers."

Most of violations registered by the Al Rashidiya police station were committed on the Emirates Ring Road, according to Captain Mubarak Al Kutbi, head of the Traffic Section at the station.

He said 50 motorists were fined on sections and streets falling under the jurisdiction of the station. "The large number of fines, over a period, is a message to erring motorists to make them respect the law." He said the violation involving driving on hard shoulders was an "extremely serious offence" that carried a Dh400 fine and an immediate seizure of the erring motorist's car for six months.

The penalty was made tougher recently on the orders of the police headquarters as surveys showed a lack of cooperation by many motorists. Al Rashidiya police station started its campaign in early September.

Capt. Al Kutbi said many motorists abide by the law when they see a policeman or a police patrol around, but break it when they're out of sight. For that reason, Dubai Police had formed a team to mount a round-the-clock surveillance on roads where serious traffic violations caused fatalities and major injuries in recent months.

Flagrant violation of traffic rules has also been blamed for the worsening traffic jams on already congested roads. In addition to the fine and car seizure, an erring motorist is given six black points on their traffic records in accordance with the black point system introduced in the early 1990's.

For a second violation, the erring motorist is fined Dh3,000 and his or her driving licence cancelled.

The intensification of the penalty system had come at the instructions of Major General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police. The police official said 11,598 such violations were recorded in Dubai last year. Police said the violation had extremely serious effects on traffic safety.

A senior official said that this particular offence, when seen being committed, also encourages other motorists to violate the law, as they see some motorists saving time by using the hard shoulder to overtake other cars and get to their destinations faster.

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