x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Police put teeth in Dubai's road safety rules

The announcement by Dubai Police that motorists caught driving faster than 60kph above the limit will have their vehicles impounded on the spot, is timely.

Dubai's speed merchants should be thankful that the summer heat is finally easing up, as they could soon be spending a lot of time using their feet for transport. The announcement by Dubai Police, as reported in The National yesterday, that motorists caught driving faster than 60kph above the limit will have their vehicles impounded on the spot, is timely.

The projected two-month campaign is one of the more aggressive initiatives undertaken by Dubai Police to reduce speeding on the roads. Already in the first 10 months of the year, road fatalities in Dubai have fallen by more than 30 per cent, but this latest campaign could prove to be one of the most effective yet in the fight to curb traffic-related deaths.

"Speed is the most dangerous behaviour on the road and is the biggest challenge for achieving that objective," Lt General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the Dubai police chief, said at the launch of the campaign. "We need to educate people, especially younger generations, about the danger of speeding."

It is clear that younger drivers are a big part of the problem. Major General Saif al Zafein, the head of the Traffic Department, echoed Tamim's words: "It is important to reach people who are fascinated by racing and speed, and make them understand that there are designated places for such sports."

In this sense, parental vigilance is also called for here. Many teenagers, who are not in a financial position to purchase their own cars, have easy access to vehicles. Too often, parents that are willing to lend youngsters the family car are too lax in their attitudes about driving safely. This breeds a sense of entitlement, even nihilism, in the young drivers that is counterproductive to the sense of responsibility that the police are attempting to foster.

The authorities may have to take even more extreme measures, going as far as confiscating driving licences at the same time that they impound cars. This might stop offenders from simply borrowing another car, but it would certainly prevent them from hiring one.

Dubai Police's target of zero deaths on the roads may be an ambitious, unreachable target, but they are right to aim for it.