UAE seatbelt law: Instant fines for not buckling up?

UAE seatbelt law: Instant fines for not buckling up?

Dubai - The main goal of the amended law is reducing mortality down to 3 deaths per 100,000 from the current 6.1 deaths.



by

Amira Agarib

Published: Thu 6 Jul 2017, 6:43 PM

The Dubai Police will exercise leniency when penalising motorists if rear-seat passengers fail to buckle up, considering the recently of the new traffic law, a top official has said.

According to the amendments made to the Federal Traffic Law -- which came into effect on July 1 -- the fine for passengers not wearing seat belts is Dh400 per passenger. Additionally, four black points will be slapped on the driver's licence. Over four days, the Dubai Police has fined around 250 motorists for failing to buckle up.

Major-General Mohamed Saif Al Zafeen, head of the Federal Traffic Council and Assistant Commander-in-Chief of the Dubai Police, however, said the force will progressively get stringent about seat belt violations, as using seat belts is crucial in reducing the death toll and injuries in accidents, especially among children.

He added that "70 per cent of people currently do not wear seat belts while sitting in the front, but after the introduction of the new law, we expect that 100 per cent motorists, whether drivers or passengers, will fasten their seat belts."

"Every person travelling in a vehicle must wear a seat belt or use a child safety seat. Child seats are mandatory for children aged 4 and under and for all passengers, including rear seat ones, and the front seat passenger must have a minimum height of 145cm and not be under age 10," added Maj Gen Al Zafeen.

Al Zafeen pointed out that in places like Europe, people are aware of the importance of using seat belts "and the drivers always ask everyone in their vehicle to buckle up."

"I visited Sweden recently and wore my seatbelt, but my companion in the back seat did not belt up, so the driver asked them to fasten the belt or to leave the car." He said the new seatbelt rule is the result of studying and reviewing experiments conducted in European countries that have achieved very low road death rates. Sweden, for instance, has only 2 deaths per 100,000 people.

In Dubai, the main goal of the amended law is reducing mortality down to 3 deaths per 100,000 from the current 6.1 deaths, Al Zafeen said, noting that last year, the UAE witnessed a tragic 725 road accident deaths.

Henceforth, all drivers in the UAE are necessitated to get their passengers to buckle up, whether seated in the front or back.

He said, initially, the police will stop erring drivers and advise them on the importance of fastening seat belts to ensure safety. But the police will soon start fining people, as everyone is expected to abide by the seat belt rule in the fastest possible time.

"Everyone needs to abide by this and so we have taken a good step in the right direction," said the official.

amira@khaleejtimes.com

'Seatbelt saved my life'

Kifah Al Kaabi, a sports commentator, has said that wearing the seat belt is the most effective way to safeguard lives and reduce injuries in crashes. Yet, millions don't buckle up every day.

He experienced it firsthand when involved in a road accident seven years ago, a story he wants to share and encourage everyone to come together to save the lives of road users in the UAE.

"I was going from Abu Dhabi in the direction of Al Ain to cover a football match between the UAE and Syria," said Al Kaabi. "Around noon, I stopped at a gas station and then continued." He dozed off as he was exhausted, and that's when the accident happened, but he has no recollection of it.

The crash, however, put him into a coma for three days and he was in the ICU. "But God brought me back to life and I got a new chance to learn a lesson in being responsible," said Al Kaabi.

Discharged from hospital after four weeks, he saw how badly damaged his car was and wondered at the fact that he was still alive. "I do not how the accident took place, but what I do remember is that I wore my seat belt, which saved my life."


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