Up to Dh80,000 in violations: UAE residents reveal how they rack up, budget for traffic fines

More than 500 people who responded to a Khaleej Times poll about traffic fines said that they had penalties amounting to over Dh20,000


Nasreen Abdulla

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File Photo. Image used for illustrative purposes
File Photo. Image used for illustrative purposes

Published: Mon 10 Jun 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 10 Jun 2024, 9:53 PM

For Emirati driver H. K, 2023 was her worst year for fines since she began driving, accumulating a total of Dh80,000. “Most of them were speeding fines,” she said. “Some I did not know about, but I knew I had been speeding in some cases. Most of it happened on long drives when I was unsure of the speed limits.”

Other fines she accumulated included those for lane discipline and using a mobile phone while driving. H. K admitted that she has received a number of speeding fines in previous years as well.

“At the start of each year, I pledge to drive better, but at some point, I invariably get late, and I end up speeding,” she said. “However, when I saw the bill of Dh80,000, my jaw dropped. It was the highest amount I ever paid. I am actively trying to ensure I am a better driver this year.”

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Out of the 9,100 people who responded to a Khaleej Times poll about traffic fines, over 7,500 people said they had accrued penalties of less than Dh5,000 yearly. However, more than 500 people said they had penalties of over Dh20,000.

Last week, Abu Dhabi police announced that they had penalised over 300,000 people for driving too slowly on the highways. The emirate introduced a minimum speed of 120kmph in the first two lanes of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Road in both directions in May 2023 to prevent traffic accidents.

Indian expat Shanil Abdul Rahman often got fined for slow driving. “My wife and I travel between Ajman and Abu Dhabi a lot, and sometimes, we get flashed on that particular highway,” he said. "This year, when we allocated our yearly budget, we set aside Dh2,000 for fines. However, despite our best efforts, we got the fine for slow speed, twice on the same road within minutes of each other. We are already up to Dh1,400 with half a year to go, so I doubt we can stay within our budget.”

For some, fines are considered even when making important decisions. German expat Maheen Husainy said that it was one of the aspects that she and her husband discussed when thinking of places to move.

“Right now we live in Jumeirah and my husband works close by,” she said. “As rents went up, we had a discussion on moving a bit further away from the city. However, when we calculated the expenses of petrol and the possibilities of fines, we decided against moving.”

She said that as an experienced driver, she knew that fines are more likely when moving further away. “The longer the daily drive, the more there are chances for negligence,” she said. “Whether for speeding or lane discipline, driving longer distances when tired can cause a lapse in judgement. Right now, my children’s school and husband’s office are close by, so we considerably reduce our instances of distracted driving.”

Learning a lesson

According to Pakistani expat Sara K (name changed for privacy), the largest fine she has seen in her family was the Dh30,000 racked up by her younger brother. “It was the first year he got his licence,” she recalled. “He was 18 and thought he was Michael Schumacher. There were many speeding fines. When our father got the bill at the time of the renewal, it was like a bomb that was dropped on the family.”

After that, strict regulations were put in place for her brother. “Our father became very strict and my brother had to follow many rules,” she said. “However, it did force my brother to clean up his act. After that, he never got a speeding fine until he migrated from Dubai to Australia last year. It really taught him a lesson.”

Another person for whom the fines were a deterrent was 34-year-old Noora T. “In 2018, I got fines of Dh6,000 on my car,” she said. “I remember seeing the bill and being shocked. I had not realised how many speeding fines I got. That year, I decided I would not get a fine again.”

Six years later, the Emirati driver is going strong on her resolve. “I have not got a single fine since then,” she said. “I drive very carefully and put away my phone when I am at the wheel. I work very hard to earn my money, and I would much rather use it to buy myself gifts or spend it on something that I enjoy than pay it in fines.”

Here are some violations and their fines listed by Dubai Police:

  • Driving in a way that poses danger to drivers' life or lives and safety of others: Fine of Dh2000 and 23 black points. Vehicle is confiscated for 60 days
  • Using a hand held mobile phone for driving: Fine of Dh800 and 4 black points
  • Jumping a red signal by light vehicles: Fine of Dh1000 and 12 black points. Vehicle is confiscated for 30 days.
  • Exceeding speed limit by more than 80km/h: Fine of Dh1000 and 12 black points. Vehicle is confiscated for 30 days.
  • Entering a road dangerously: Fine of Dh600 and 6 black points
  • Driving a vehicle with an expired driving license: Fine of Dh500 and 4 black points. Vehicle is confiscated for 7 days.
  • Allowing children under 10 years old or under 145cm to sit in front seats: Fine of Dh400


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