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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 October 2018

Kill your speed, not other road users, or face penalties

Drivers should face tougher punishment for driving at more than double the speed limit

Drivers said they are used to receiving notification of speeding fines within days rather than weeks. Sammy Dallal / The National
Drivers said they are used to receiving notification of speeding fines within days rather than weeks. Sammy Dallal / The National

Anyone who has negotiated the highways of the UAE will know the perils of coming up against a road-hogger – the menaces who think nothing of weaving in between cars with inches to spare, overtaking without indicating and treating the speed limit as a mere suggestion, if not a challenge to be shamelessly flouted.

Nevertheless, the scale of the number of drivers with a total disregard for the law is shocking. Last week it was revealed nearly 3,000 drivers have been caught driving at more than 200kph in Abu Dhabi, double the speed limit in many parts of the city, in just five months.

The figure is already more than half of the number of people caught speeding by more than 80kph across the whole of the UAE last year, despite the launch of a three-month nationwide campaign to get drivers to slow down, launched in January this year.

Speeding kills. Globally, speed contributes to about 30 per cent of deaths on the road; in the UAE, that figure was more than 40 per cent of the 525 people killed in road accidents last year.

The greater the speed of the car, the less time and distance a driver has to brake and avoid causing an accident.

An average increase in speed of 1kph results in a 3 per cent higher chance of a crash – so it does not take much to work out that just one person driving at 80kph above the speed limit is endangering the lives of themselves and others. Nearly 3,000 drivers behaving irresponsibly make our roads a minefield to negotiate.

The worst offenders face fines of up to Dh3,000, the confiscation of their cars for up to 60 days and points on their licences.

For those with high incomes, that does not always go far enough. In the UK, fines are linked to income.

Perhaps harsher financial penalties coupled with total bans from the road and longer vehicle confiscations, together with education and safe driving awareness lessons, will finally persuade speeding drivers that they could be potential killers.