x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Drivers pay more fines if they have to pay less

Offering a discount on traffic fines has caused the number of fines paid to almost double over the past month, police say.

If the speed radar on Sheikh Zayed Road catches you going too fast, expect a fine of Dh600.
If the speed radar on Sheikh Zayed Road catches you going too fast, expect a fine of Dh600.

DUBAI // The number of traffic fines paid rose 74 per cent last month over the month before, as motorists flocked to take advantage of a 30 per cent discount offered by Dubai Police.

More than 204,000 traffic fines were paid during September - an increase over the 117,283 paid in August, according to statistics released yesterday.

However, the monetary value of the paid fines, the types of fines and the issuance dates were not disclosed. The discount went into effect on September 11 and is expected to continue until December 11.

"The increase is mainly due to the fact that people are making use of the reduction in fines," said Maj Gen Mohammed Al Zaffin, the head of the Dubai Police traffic department.

About Dh369 million worth of fines are owed to the traffic department, officials said. The goal of the discount programme is to encourage drivers to pay off fines that have built up over time.

Police have issued more than 1.76 million traffic fines in the first nine months of this year, and about 64 per cent of these - 1.13 million - are for speeding violations, officials said. Speeding tickets usually involve a fine of Dh600.

The discount includes all types of violations, but cover only citations issued before September 11. The reduction also applies to vehicle-confiscation fees.

Police have said the discount period might be extended if it proves successful.

In the first nine months of last year, Dubai Police issued more than 1.78 million fines, and again most of them were for speeding, according to police statistics.

"The number of speed violations are alarming, and we are studying this trend to be able to put in place solutions addressing this problem," Maj Gen Al Zaffin said. "This big number indicates that some people have a passion for speed and they continue to ignore the rules, despite our repeated efforts to raise awareness on the danger of speeding."

The second most common violation was obstructing or stopping traffic, with more than 78,900 citations issued, followed by not wearing seat belts, which incurred more than 63,500 fines.

Leaving a car running in a prohibited area led to 60,000 fines, and 40,038 fines were issued to drivers who did not stay in their designated lane.

Fines for jumping red traffic lights were issued to more than 12,800 drivers, and 2,000 people were fined for reckless driving.

Police have attributed the large numbers of fines issued in recent years to greater efforts to keep the roads safe, including deployment of more patrols and installation of more radar-controlled cameras.

There are about 500 speed radars in Dubai.

Police say stronger enforcement of the law, in the form of citations and fines, has helped reduce the death toll on Dubai's roads. Fatalities in Dubai have fallen 30 per cent in the first eight months of this year compared with the same period last year.

This year, 80 people were killed on Dubai roads up to the end of August, while road crashes killed 115 lives in the same period last year.

wissa@thenational.ae