Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 June 2019

Almost 200 Dubai drivers fined for flouting new seat belt law

Police hand out 5,000 fined in three day blitz on bad motorists

The authorities hope the new system will encourage drivers to keep a clean record around the year. The National
The authorities hope the new system will encourage drivers to keep a clean record around the year. The National

Dubai Police say a three-day blitz has led to 190 motorists being fined for failing to buckle up.

Drivers were penalised for failing to buckle up, or not ensuring everyone in their car wore seat belts. The person behind the wheel is fined Dh400 and handed four black points on their licences for failing to do so.

The 190 were among almost 5,000 drivers caught since changes to traffic laws came into effect on Saturday.

Swerving across lanes was also among the most common offences, with 747 drivers caught between Saturday and yesterday morning.

“Drivers should be more concerned about fastening seat belts now that they will be fined and have black points will be added to their licence,” said Maj Gen Mohammed Al Zafeen, assistant commander in chief of Dubai Police and chairman of the Federal Traffic Council.

“We will continue to implement the enforcement of this offence, as we care for the safety road users.”

Brig Saif Al Ziri, commander-in-chief of Sharjah Police, which is also enforcing the new laws this week, said: “One person, one seat belt. Every person travelling in a vehicle must wear a seat belt or use a child-safety seat.

“We are hoping that more stringent fines will reduce the number of traffic fatalities.”

The laws were introduced after 725 people died on the roads last year, up from 675 in 2015, reversing a downward trend from the previous year.

Close to half of the accidents were caused by drivers aged between 18 and 30.

Thomas Edelmann, founder of Road Safety UAE, said a change in culture was still needed.

“Adults behave poorly with regards to the use of rear-seat belts, and this translates into failing to make sure our children travel safely in our vehicles,” Mr Edelmann said.

“According Road Safety UAE research, only 56 per cent of drivers always ask everyone in their vehicle to buckle up. I am hoping to see a shift in people’s attitudes with the introduction of the new rules.”

Taxi drivers across the UAE are now responsible for ensuring that all passengers are fastened in, or they face the Dh400.

“I am asking every passenger to buckle up,” said Khalid Khan, a Dubai taxi driver from Pakistan. “Passengers sitting in the front seat usually fasten their seat belts but those in the back don’t tend to.

“Anyone who doesn't don’t buckle up is not welcome in my taxi.”

Mr Khan said he had observed differences in passengers’ cultures.

“Westerners always wear their seat belts while Asians and Arabs tend to need a bit of convincing,” he said

Sayed Noor, a Pakistani taxi driver working in Sharjah, said there was still some resistance from passengers.

“Passengers who don’t fasten their belts either don’t have enough confidence in their use or actually understand their importance,” Mr Noor said.

“I am behind the wheel at least eight hours a day and I fasten mine. I don’t understand why many don’t do the same.”

In Dubai, 3,602 fines were recorded after drivers were clocked by cameras, while 1,333 were pulled over by officers.

Police hit 145 drivers the new Dh800 fine, plus four black points, for using their phones.

Updated: July 3, 2017 07:46 PM