x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Net widens for aggressive drivers

Officers will issue on the spot fines for speeding, tailgating and overtaking on Emirates Road in Dubai.

The Hostile Driving Campaign by the Dubai Police Traffic Department will also monitor lorry drivers on the Emirates Road.
The Hostile Driving Campaign by the Dubai Police Traffic Department will also monitor lorry drivers on the Emirates Road.

DUBAI // Patrols will begin targeting aggressive drivers on the Dubai stretch of the Emirates Road today and issue on-the-spot fines to offenders. The patrols mark the start of phase two of the Hostile Driving Campaign by the Dubai Police Traffic Department. During phase one, which started two weeks ago, police issued 1,378 on-the-spot fines to aggressive motorists on Sheikh Zayed Road and impounded 16 vehicles. Eight police cars monitored motorists driving between the World Trade Centre and the Mall of the Emirates, issuing fines to those who committed potentially dangerous offences such as speeding, tailgating and overtaking.

The same number of cars - some unmarked - will now police the Dubai stretch of Emirates Road. Capt Maher bin Haider, who leads the campaign, said he hoped it would be expanded to cover all of Dubai. "People are learning from this. My team and I will not stop. This campaign is ongoing and we will bring in more manpower in the future. The goal for this project is to cover all roads in Dubai, including inner roads where many violations also occur, by next year."

He said patrol and undercover cars had been successful in issuing a large number of fines to reckless drivers in phase one of the project. "The majority of the fines issued were for tailgating and speeding. Some of those caught were women, but the majority, about 95 per cent of them, were men under 40." In some cases, drivers may receive more than two fines and have their car impounded at once.

"There was one man who was driving recklessly by sudden and dangerous overtaking, tailgating and speeding," said Capt bin Haider. "We stopped him and he was surprised. He apologised and said he was in a hurry. Three fines of over Dh3,000 were issued to him and we impounded his car. "Most people are really shocked when we stop them because they do not expect us to be there. They say they know about the radars but were surprised see us. "Emirates Road will be the next target as it is considered one of the most dangerous roads. Some drivers reach 290kmh there."

The road, which connects all the emirates, will be monitored from morning to midnight. Cars and heavy goods vehicles will be ­targeted, Capt bin Haider said. "It is important that we target the trucks because they can be a big hazard for other cars on the road. Truck drivers who speed, overtake or drive on the hard shoulder will be stopped and fined. "We hope they [lorry drivers] will quickly learn from each other as the word gets out and they realise that we are watching."

Capt bin Haider said punishing drivers was not necessarily the only way to fight the aggressive driving culture. "People won't learn by punishment," he said. "It is important that courses are given at schools, universities and companies, and campaigns to raise awareness are carried out regularly. "People need to learn the dangers and be given the information on where to go to release their energy. A controlled and safe environment like the Dubai autodrome is ideal if you would like to race cars."

rabubaker@thenational.ae