x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Car export scams under notice

New vehicle exportation procedures and standardised license classifications are among proposals to prevent people from using counterfeit documents to export vehicles.

ABU DHABI // Certificates for exporting vehicles across the GCC could soon be standardised, senior traffic officials say.

Brig Gen Ghaith al Zaabi, the director general for traffic co-ordination at the Ministry of Interior, said changes were being spurred by recent cases of people using counterfeit documents to export vehicles.

Certificates "will contain security specifications to prevent the forgery of these documents", Brig Gen al Zaabi said, adding the initiative was proposed by Oman and is awaiting approval by GCC interior ministers.

He was speaking yesterday on the sidelines of the 28th annual GCC traffic conference, a three-day event in Abu Dhabi.

At the conference, the UAE proposed standardised driving licence classifications, Brig Gen al Zaabi said. The system would separate licences into four categories: private, public, motorcycle and heavy vehicles. It would also give age requirements for each.

Another recommendation made at the conference was to link details of traffic offences in the UAE with those of other GCC countries through a website.

Nearly 70 per cent of traffic data shared between the Gulf states is related to offences, Brig Gen al Zaabi said.

Officials said collision and fatality rates in the UAE continue to improve. There is now one fatalities for every 10,000 people in the country. Road deaths dropped by 15 per cent last year to 826, compared with 966 in 2009.

Brig Hussein al Harethi, the head of the Abu Dhabi Traffic and Patrols Directorate, said his organisation had set a goal of reducing road fatality rates by 4 per cent each year.

Moves towards achieving that target include the enforcement of a recent drop in speed limits to 140kph from 160kph on major roads.

Although figures were not available, Brig al Harethi said there had been a considerable drop in the number of traffic accidents since the new speed limits were introduced, particularly along the road between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

"People in Dubai seem to be satisfied about the change," he said. "We receive many messages from drivers saying they are happy about the new speed limits."

Concerns have been voiced about "absent" fines, or those not presented by a policeman, with the increasing number of radar guns on the road.

But Brig al Harethi said delivering a ticket at the time of the offence could sometimes compromise road safety.

"Sometimes when a driver is excessively speeding and he is caught by a radar gun, the fine is recorded as absent because the patrol officer doesn't want to start a car chase on the road," he said.

Meanwhile, officials said the GCC awareness commission was conducting research and gathering data for a comprehensive report on traffic patterns in the region.

"The report will be reviewed by the interior ministers to help standardise and determine traffic indicators," Brig Gen al Zaabi said.

Part of the study includes a review of the GCC Traffic Week campaign in March, to identify achievements and work on strategies.

mismail@thenational.ae