Dubai revises traffic law: Penalty for serious offences may cost as much as a new car

Residents will now have to pay Dh50,000 to recover impounded car, 17 times more than the previous amount


Angel Tesorero

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FILE. Traffic light junction in Dubai.
FILE. Traffic light junction in Dubai.

Published: Thu 6 Jul 2023, 3:48 PM

Last updated: Thu 6 Jul 2023, 10:42 PM

Last month, Dubai-based expat Mark (name changed as requested) paid Dh1,000 for jumping a red light. He got 12 black points; his car was impounded for 30 days, and he had to shell out Dh3,000 before it was released.

Now, if he ever commits the same violation, he will be rewarded 12 more black points and pay the same penalty. But he will have to pay 17 times more than he paid to recover his impounded car as Dubai revised its traffic law.

The amendments to the traffic law in the emirates that went into effect on Thursday (July 6) have set a penalty of Dh50,000 for motorists to get their confiscated vehicles released. This is almost the same amount Mark paid for the brand-new Korean-made sedan he bought early this year.

"The increase in penalty is really a big deterrent," Mark told Khaleej Times, adding: "I’ve already learned my lesson, and I don’t think I will ever commit the same foolish mistake of beating the red light. It’s not worth it."

Safeguarding lives and properties

Road safety experts agree that stricter penalties added to the Dubai traffic law would serve as a strong message to erring motorists.

Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE, noted: “The new amendments to the traffic law address different forms of reckless driving behaviour.

“While some of these are intentional, others are linked to distracted behaviour, especially with regard to the dangerous act of red light jumping. The majority of red light jumping violations are linked to the distracted behaviour of motorists. But jumping the red light simply cannot be overlooked as a result of distraction. Regardless, the amendments to the traffic law take further steps to address reckless driving and ensure traffic safety while safeguarding the lives and properties of individuals in the emirate,” he added.

Promoting a safer environment

Long-time Dubai resident Lara Branaghan commended the decision by authorities. She said: “Cars now have become faster, the roads have become wider, and some motorists have become bolder. By imposing stiffer and costlier penalties, these erring motorists would definitely think twice before hitting hard the accelerator to beat the red light.”

“I understand the objective for introducing the amendments is to ensure traffic safety, reduce accidents and promote a culture of safety on the roads,” she underlined.

“And I don’t think anyone can just leave their car at the impounding area, even if its value is just Dh15,000 or a third of the penalty because they still have to clear the black points on their driving licence,” Branaghan added.

According to the amended traffic law, the requirements for vehicle release include payment of all fines due on the vehicle according to the traffic file, rectification of the violation (including clearing black points) or removal of its causes, and any other conditions determined by Dubai Police.

Additional measures and deportation

Repeat offenders will also have to pay a higher price. The new law says: “The impoundment period of a vehicle will be doubled in case the car is impounded again within one year from the occurrence of the same offence for which the vehicle was previously impounded, provided that the impoundment period does not exceed 90 days.

“The amount to be paid for the release of the impounded vehicle will be doubled in case the vehicle is impounded again within one year from the occurrence of the same offence, provided that the release amount does not exceed Dh200,000.”

Moreover, “in addition to the penalties and measures prescribed by the legislation in force in Dubai, where a non-UAE national driver of a heavy vehicle drives through a red light, he will be administratively deported from the UAE.”

The crux of the new traffic law remains: Avoid the penalties; take caution when driving. Prevent accidents, save lives, stay safe and remain on the right side of the law.


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