Jaywalkers in Dubai face stricter penalties in a bid to reduce the high number of them being run over and killed.
The Dubai Police Traffic department is considering implementing heavier fines for pedestrians who repeatedly cross roads in undesignated areas, according to the head of the department, Maj Gen Mohammed Said Al Zaffien.
“Here we have a wide range of nationalities and a varied mentality and education when it comes to roads and traffic rules, and on top of that we have some reckless drivers. So we must regulate to cover all safety aspects,” Maj Gen Al Zaffien said.
Jaywalkers are currently fined Dh200 for the offence with 1,900 fined in the first month of this year.
Pedestrians being run over are the leading cause of road deaths in the emirate, he said. There were 41 pedestrian deaths last year, and 40 in 2010.
A new study by Maj Gen Al Zaffien’s department calls for the tightening of penalties against pedestrian offenders according to the number of offences committed.
It also calls for coordinated efforts with the Roads and Transport Authority to maximise safety signs warning against crossing in undesignated areas, and to step up more patrols in hot spots.
“A common accident pedestrians are involved in is when the vehicle in the first lane stops for them to cross and the vehicle in the other lane doesn’t intend to stop, creating a pedestrian trap. We have seen many incidents like this,” he said.
The new study forms part of his department’s aim to have “zero road fatalities per 100,000” by 2020.
Because 80 per cent of the pedestrian casualties recorded in Dubai involved people from Asian origins, Maj Gen Al Zaffien said Dubai Police would carry out traffic awareness campaigns for blue-collar workers.
In April this year, his department distributed 10,000 reflective vests to workers across the emirate as part of the “Cross Safely” campaign. Officials also staged lectures at labour camps and distributed pamphlets on safe crossing.
At the time, Maj Gen Al Zaffien said labour camps near busy roads, such as Emirates Road and the Dubai Bypass Road, were major areas of concern.
The main causes, he said, were neglect, inattention, speed, not giving way to pedestrians, disrespect of road users, driving in reverse without paying attention, and driving through red lights.
With reporting by Mohammed N Al Khan