To bridle reckless drivers and protect the lives of road users, the UAE will double fines for certain violations from July 1.
According to an amendment to the Federal Traffic Law, adopted by Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, traffic violators, especially speedsters, will have to burn their pockets to pay fines, which also include higher black points.
The amendment will reduce the number of traffic laws in the country from 147 to 120, of which 19 are new laws while 29 are merged.
According to the amendment, the fine for exceeding maximum speed limits by not more than 60kmph will be Dh1,500, instead of the previous Dh900. The fine for exceeding maximum speed limits by more than 60kmph will go up from Dh1,000 to Dh2,000; exceeding by more than 80kmph will be Dh3,000; and exceeding by not more than 50kmph will go up from Dh800 to Dh1,000.
Meanwhile, the fine for crossing the red signal will jump from Dh800 to Dh1,000; and the fine for unjustified parking will rise from Dh500 to Dh1,000. Jumping the red signal and parking violations will also see a change in black points. From July 1, they will be 12 and six respectively, compared to the current 8 and 4. For crossing the red signal, the vehicle will also be confiscated for 30 days.
The penalty for using mobile phones while driving will see the biggest hike, with Dh800 fine and four black points, compared with the existing Dh200 and four points.
Another major change in the law is the introduction of car seats for children who are less than four years. A motorist who does not abide by this will have to pay a fine of Dh400.
Major General Saif Al Zafeen, director of the Dubai Traffic Prosecution Council and Assistant Commander-in-Chief of the Dubai Police Operations, said that the doubling of penalties is not aimed at just slapping fines on people, but to protect lives of road users.
He said the new amendment will be subject to an evaluation period in addition to an awareness campaigns. The Federal Traffic Council will continue to work towards reducing the number of casualties to three deaths per 100,000.
According to him, the most frequent violations causing deaths are sudden deviation and speeding as well as poor maintenance of vehicles. Maj. Gen. Al Zafeen added that sudden deviation has been among the three most fatal offences in the last five years.
To avoid confusion among law enforcement officers and drivers, two offences - reckless driving and driving the vehicle in a way that poses a danger - have been merged into a single violation. He justified the rise in fines for phone driving and texting as they are found to be causing more accidents.
Another major threat, overtaking from the road shoulder, will now see a fine of Dh1,000 and six black points, compared with the existing Dh600 and six black points.
Among the new laws, riding a recreational bike on roads will earn a fine of Dh3,000 and the vehicle will be confiscated for 90 days. Truck drivers who overtake from the right side will be fined Dh3,000 and their licence will be suspended for one year. The amendments also look into irregularities in vehicle tinting, as it leads to poor judgement causing accidents.