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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Two dozen Dubai drivers caught in a week for 'rubbernecking' at crashes

Offenders slowed to stare at accidents and even take pictures and video

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES- March 11:  View of accident site on Sheikh Zayed Road from Abu Dhabi towards Dubai near Ghantoot area. (Pawan Singh / Abu Dhabi Media Company) Fog Tuesday
Fog crash
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES- March 11: View of accident site on Sheikh Zayed Road from Abu Dhabi towards Dubai near Ghantoot area. (Pawan Singh / Abu Dhabi Media Company) Fog Tuesday Fog crash

Twenty-five motorists were fined in the space of a week for slowing down to photograph or film major accidents.

The actions of drivers 'rubbernecking' and taking pictures of crashes were described as reckless and irresponsible by Maj Gen Mohammed Saif Al Zafeen, chairman of the Federal Traffic Council and assistant commander-in-chief of Dubai Police.

The two dozen drivers were caught in the week after Dh1,000 penalties came in on July 1, which are the most up to date figures available.

In an age of social media when images and footage of accidents are frequently spread online, police have attempted to crack down on such behaviour, particularly as it can lead to secondary crashes and slow up emergency services.

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"This act delays emergency vehicles in reaching the people in need after a traffic accident," said Maj Gen Al Zafeen.

"Every minute counts when there’s a motorist or a passenger injured.

“Rubbernecking motorists also caused several accidents recently. As the driver slows down, the person behind them crashes straight into them."

The new offence was one of 19 contained in an updated traffic law that took effect at the start of last month. The change also made it an offence not to wear a seatbelt, which had long been called for by road safety campaigners and senior police officers.

Previously only front seat occupants had to be buckled up. Other new stipulations ban parents from carrying a child on their lap and state that every young person under four years old must be in a car seat.

Rubbernecking did not carry an automatic fine but police had urged drivers to report others that caused a hazard.

Since 2013, road users have been able to file to police reports if the driver’s actions posed a danger, after an agreement was reached between traffic prosecutors and police.

“If the act of stopping suddenly posed danger to the lives of other road users, the one subjected to this near danger can actually write down the plate number of the car that stopped and report him to police,” Salah Bu Farousha Al Falasi, head of Dubai Traffic prosecution, said at the time.

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