Up to Dh150,000 fine for blocking, recording at accident sites in UAE
Abu Dhabi - Traffic authorities have urged motorists not to park their vehicles near accident sites.
Residents should stop crowding around accident sites as that might delay the emergency personnel from reaching there in time to save lives, authorities warned on Saturday (July 6).
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) also warned against taking and posting photographs or video clippings of road accidents on social networking sites, emphasising the need to consider human dignity and the feelings of relatives of the accident victims.
The ministry had earlier said the circulation of accident images "is deemed an irresponsible behaviour among the citizens. It is also a violation of the law".
"The circulation of these images is unacceptable as it can cause a psychological shock to the families of victims when they view such images," said the ministry in a statement.
"Taking pictures of accident scenes and sharing them online is against the UAE's values derived from the Islamic concept of tolerance."
Taking and posting photos or videos of accident sites on social media can lead to imprisonment and a fine of up to Dh150,000 under the UAE's cybercrime law. Those found obstructing or blocking roads near accident sites can be punished with a fine of Dh1,000.
Traffic authorities have urged motorists not to park their vehicles near accident sites to watch.
Last year, the Abu Dhabi Police launched a campaign with telecom provider du to raise awareness about the issue of crowding at accident sites and taking pictures and videos.
The campaign, "Post Wisely", was intended to educate the public about serious consequences of this "uncivilised behaviour", which may endanger their lives and the lives of others.
The police said crowding around crash sites prevents emergency personnel from doing their job.
Brigadier Khalifa Mohammed Al Khaili, director of Traffic and Patrols of the Abu Dhabi Police said: "Crowding and taking photos at accident sites could delay the work of traffic patrols, ambulances and civil defence vehicles, which will result in worsening the condition of the injured or may even cause fatalities.
"People should consider the serious consequences of such "uncivilised behaviour" which may endanger their lives and the lives of others," he said.
Staring at accident sites is a 'bad habit'- Road safety expert
Thomas Edelman, managing director of Road Safety UAE, said that people crowding at accident sites to stare is a world-wide phenomenon.
"Staring at accident sites or rubbernecking as we term it, is a common behaviour not only in the UAE but also in other countries," said Edelman.
"Drivers will slow down and even bring traffic to a standstill as they try to satisfy their curiosity and get a better look at the aftermath of a collision. Unfortunately, rubbernecking can lead to additional accidents as drivers suffering from such distractions often end up crashing themselves."
He added: "Rubbernecking is impolite and a very bad behaviour, which people should stop because it affects the injured and other road users."
The road safety expert said traffic jams near accident sites are always caused by people stopping to have a look at the accident sites and this delays emergency teams from reaching the accident sites in time to save the injured people.
"It also affects road users as they have to spend a lot of time in the long traffic jams," he added.
Elderman noted that it becomes worse when rubberneckers take and post images from accident sites.
"Taking photos of the injured and sharing them on social media violates the privacy of others. No one wants their pictures taken and shared to everyone," said Edelman.
He added that such a behaviour deepens the pain and grief of the victims' families.