x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Getting on the road

Even when the city was little more than a handful of buildings reached by rough desert tracks, bad driving was a serious problem for Abu Dhabi authorities.

Even when the city was little more than a handful of buildings reached by rough desert tracks, bad driving was a serious problem for Abu Dhabi authorities. A document dated Dec 5, 1960 outlines one of the first forms of road traffic law to be passed. It lists nine offences and four driving rules. In those days the local currency was the Gulf rupee, issued by the Indian government and with a rate of exchange of about 13 rupees to the British pound. The UAE dirham was not introduced until 1973.

Among the provisions of the new law: "Any person who drives a vehicle at a speed in excess of 25kph in Abu Dhabi town, in Terif or in any of the Oman Villages, commits an offence and will be liable to imprisonment not exceeding one month or to a fine not exceeding Rs500 or both. "Any driver of a vehicle and any person in charge of a vehicle who carries passengers riding outside the body of the vehicle or carries more than two passengers, excluding the driver, in the front seat of the vehicle, commits an offence and will be liable to imprisonment not exceeding one month, or to a fine not exceeding Rs500, or both.

"Any person who drives a vehicle between the hours of sunset and sunrise without at least one white light at each side of the front of the vehicle and one red light at the rear commits an offence and will be liable to a fine not exceeding Rs100. "Any person who by careless or dangerous driving of a vehicle causes death or injury to any person or causes the vehicle to overturn, will be liable to imprisonment not exceeding two years, or to a fine not exceeding Rs5,000, or both, and will be liable to be banned from future driving of a motor vehicle."

Some rules of the road: "The driver of a vehicle on any road must keep to his left-hand side of the road except when overtaking another vehicle, person or animal, or when passing an obstruction. "Every driver approaching a crossroads, or road junction, or place where he cannot see the road ahead of him, must take special care to avoid accidents. Before he crosses or turns into another roads he must be sure that he can do so without danger to other road users."