x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

700,000 driving fines in six months

Police say they will step up efforts to reduce dangerous driving as violations almost triple in a year.

Police handed out 705,377 traffic fines in the first half of this year - more than 60% of them for speeding.
Police handed out 705,377 traffic fines in the first half of this year - more than 60% of them for speeding.

ABU DHABI // Police handed out 705,377 traffic fines in the first half of this year - more than 60 per cent of them for speeding, figures released yesterday show. The figures also demonstrated a steep rise in the number of speeding violations; more than twice as many drivers were caught between April and June as in the previous three months.

The Ministry of Interior said Abu Dhabi Police issued the traffic fines between January and the end of June. The total represented almost three times as many as in the same period in 2008. Of those, 433,202 were for speeding. The total figure - equivalent to one traffic fine for every second person in the emirate - prompted police to announce plans to install more radar cameras and step up their efforts to get people to slow down.

They showed a big increase in the second quarter; police said in April that they had recorded 244,927 traffic violations between January 1 and April 5, meaning that between April 6 and the end of June there were 460,450 violations. Of the fines in the first quarter, 138,919 were for speeding. The corresponding figure for April to June was 294,283 - a 112 per cent rise. Col Hamad Adil al Shamsi, the head of the traffic and patrols directorate of Abu Dhabi Police, said 262,937 fines were issued in the first half of last year. He attributed this year's 168 per cent increase to the force's greater focus on dangerous driving.

He said the police would continue strictly enforcing traffic laws, install more radars and increase patrols to reduce violations. The fines included 39,215 for illegal parking; 29,841 for blocking traffic; 3,742 for driving through red lights; 1,876 for illegally overly tinted windows; 8,036 for parking in disabled spaces or in front of fire gates; 6,253 for boxing in other vehicles by parking; and 30,685 for failing to wear seat belts.

The National launched its Road to Safety campaign after the death of three young Emirati girls on a road in the capital last month. Today The National reveals the phenomenon of young men posting internet videos of themselves driving at hair-raising speeds - some as fast as 270kph - on public roads in the UAE. Although the acts depicted are clearly illegal, the internet regulator says it has no power to act, as the clips do not constitute prohibited content.

hhassan@thenational.ae