x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

36,500 fined for using phones at wheel

Police warn that too many people continue to break the law and are putting their lives - and the lives of others - in danger.

DUBAI // More than 36,500 fines have been handed out in the emirate so far this year to motorists caught using their mobile phone while driving.

But Maj Gen Mohammed Saif Al Zafin, the head of the traffic police, said there were still too many people breaking the law and putting their lives - and the lives of others - in danger.

"We will intensify our campaigns to crack down on these people and catch them in different places, to ensure the highest level of safety for road users," he said yesterday.

Maj Gen Al Zafin's warning comes barely a week after the death of the UAE international footballer Theyab Awana who crashed his car into the rear of a road-painting lorry near Sheikh Zayed Bridge while reportedly using a BlackBerry.

The fine for anyone caught driving and talking on the phone without a headset is Dh200 as well as four black points on their licence.

In the first eight months of the year, 36,592 fines had been issued for using a phone while driving in Dubai, according to traffic police.

In Abu Dhabi, police announced last week they would launch a traffic campaign that targeted those same traffic offenders.

"The penalty will only fall on a minority group who do not respond to the language of advice and guidance," said Brig Gen Hussein Al Harethi, the director of Abu Dhabi traffic police.

Traffic police and patrols will stop those who do not follow the rules and will fine them Dh1,000 based on Article 8 of the traffic law, which penalises those who drive in a way that imposes danger on the public.

The fine will be accompanied by 12 black points and offenders' cars will be confiscated for 30 days. Article 135 penalises those who use hand-held phones while driving with a fine of Dh200 and four black points.

wissa@thenational.ae