x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Head traffic prosecutor calls for change to red-light death rules

Dubai's chief traffic prosecutor calls for change to existing law to close road-safety loophole.

DUBAI // Motorists who drive through a red light should be sent to jail, according to the head of the emirate’s Traffic Prosecution department.

Drivers currently face a maximum punishment of a Dh800 fine, seizure of their car for 15 days and eight black points.

Salah Bu Farousha Al Falasi wants to see the punishment for jumping a red light and causing the death of another person to be placed on the same level as driving while under the the influence of alcohol or drugs and killing one or more persons. Punishment for the latter is jail for up to seven years.

If someone is killed by a motorist jumping a red light, there is no specific article in the law that helps prosecutors seek a tougher punishment.

At this point, prosecutors have to make use of another article of the law that can help them get a maximum of three years in jail.

Mr Al Falasi said: “Maybe this amendment of the law will be the needed deterrent for reckless drivers who jump red light signals, a phenomenon that is noticeable for us at the traffic prosecution, and we are well aware of its gravity.”

He added that the suggestion of a law amendment had been sent to the Ministry of Interior and is now being looked at.

Mr Al Falasi said that, in 2012 and 2013, 181 people were victims of accidents involving driving through a red light, while 107 perpetrators were killed during the same period.

In that time, his department managed to get 44 convictions where guilty parties were sent to jail and, he said, 125 driving licences were suspended. Blood money totalled Dh24.5 million, with only Dh1.4m of that still to be paid.

salamir@thenational.ae