Stern police warning to erring motorists

DUBAI - Fines imposed on motorists, seizure of vehicles and last week's tightening of the demerit point system for serious traffic violations demonstrate a serious effort by Dubai Police to end traffic chaos caused by irresponsible drivers, Dubai's top police official has said.

By A Correspondent

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Published: Sat 17 May 2003, 9:03 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 11:03 PM

"This is a year-long effort now, not just a campaign restricted to a certain area or a specific period of time. It is a message to motorists that we mean business here," Major-General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, told Khaleej Times.

Latest figures released by Dubai Police show that the Bur Dubai police station, with its jurisdiction over the large area of Bur Dubai, registered 10,711 cases of traffic violations and seized 618 vehicles for violating traffic rules during the first quarter of this year. Most of the offences related to motorists' failure to meet basic safety requirements.

Most worrying offences were speeding, failure to abide by lane discipline, driving on the hard shoulder, not wearing the seat-belt, jumping the red signal and reckless driving.

Maj-Gen. Dhahi Khalfan said that police had concluded that only a continuous campaign to curb traffic violations would achieve its objectives.

Last year, traffic offences in Dubai rose by 13 per cent. Speeding constituted more than 66 per cent of traffic rule violations. This rise, according some police officials, was quite high, considering that the number of vehicles in the emirate rose only by 11 per cent in 2002.

Traffic police planners say the ongoing campaign is intended to bring down the number of offences and, consequently, accident-related fatalities and injuries. The number of motorists fined by traffic authorities in Dubai rose from some 564,000 in 2001 to 649,126 last year. Speeding remains the most recurrent offence, according to police officials.

Most violations were detected by speed monitoring devices. This offence made up 66.46 per cent of traffic violations, followed by wrong parking (6 per cent), obstructing traffic (5 per cent), failure to buckle up (3 per cent) and parking on pavements, 22,974 offences.

Maj-Gen. Dhahi said that stringent measures had been taken over the past few months to curb serious violations.

In March, police said motorists driving at 180kph on roads with a speed limit of 120kph would fined Dh400, instead of the usual Dh200, and their vehicles would be impounded for a certain period of time. The measure took the campaign against speeding to a higher level, and became an important part of police efforts to reduce speed-related accidents that have claimed many lives last year and in the first few months of the current year.

The vehicle seizure period will also be doubled in case the violation was repeated by a motorist. The measure was announced at the start of a campaign to curb speeding. The fine will also be Dh400, rather than Dh200, if a motorist is found to be driving at 120kph on roads with a speed limit of 80kph.

Speed violations last year totalled 7,431 compared to 7,357 in 2001. Some 70 per cent of the violations were detected by 'visible and invisible' speed-monitoring devices. The latest move in the fight against irresponsible driving came with the introduction last week of a significant change in the demerit point system introduced by Dubai Police in the early 1990s. Motorists driving on the hard shoulder would get six black points and a repeat of the offence (within a year) by a motorist would result in cancellation of his driving licence. A driver getting his licence cancelled would have to take new tests, like fresh applicants, only after payment of a Dh3,000 fee. Officials said the test for such motorists would not be easy.

The demerit point system has already proved to be an effective tool in curbing offences, but police said the change was necessitated in view of the large numbers of offences. Another serious offence is jumping the red signal. Devices installed by police at intersections as well as police patrols in various parts of the city registered some 7,000 violations related to violations of the signal. Of them, 3,777 offences were detected by 'radars'. The latest accident caused by the offence caused serious injuries to eight people in Bur Dubai early this month.

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