x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Bad drivers back to school

Drivers caught breaking the law in Dubai are being offered remedial lessons in private to save them from embarrassment.

DUBAI // Drivers caught breaking the law are being offered remedial lessons in private to save them from embarrassment. The tutorials will give offenders a chance to remove up to eight black points from their licences; the penalty system was launched a year ago today by Dubai Police. Officials say the classes will be established by the end of this month.

Faisal al Qasim, head of the Dubai Police Traffic Institute, said three main subjects will be taught to all offenders but each will have to take lessons aimed at their individual violation. "It's like college - there are prerequisite subjects that everyone has to take and then each will be treated according to their violation. "We aim to offer private lessons so that it won't be embarrassing for people," he said.

Drivers will take classes once or twice a week, or until it is determined that they have learnt from their mistakes, said Mr al Qasim. "How long an individual takes the lessons depends on the case. We want to see that they have responded and have changed and understood and realised their actions," he said. The three main subjects covered will be federal traffic law, safe driving, and the dangers of speeding.

In addition, the institute will provide counselling by certified psychologists to drivers who suffer from road rage or frustration. "Counsellors will offer advice and tips on how they can calm themselves down through listening to music or Quran, for instance, and accept that traffic congestion exists all around the world," Mr al Qasim said. The programme will also tackle those drivers who have accumulated more than 24 black points, although they face harsher punishments, such as having their licences withdrawn and/or having their cars impounded.

For those offenders, lessons will not mean having their black points deducted and they will have to pass an extensive driving exam to have their licences reissued. "The system is designed to delete a maximum of eight points and so any traffic violation which racks more than that, for example 12 points, will not receive any deduction," Mr al Qasim added. rabubaker@thenational.ae