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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

UAE motorists 'on their best behaviour' as traffic law comes into effect

The amended traffic law means harsher penalties for offences like passengers not wearing seat belts

Traffic laws have been amended in the UAE. Reem Mohammed / The National
Traffic laws have been amended in the UAE. Reem Mohammed / The National

Jayafar Mohammed said he noticed all motorists were signalling before changing lanes as he drove to work on Saturday morning.

As per new traffic regulations that came into action on Saturday, motorists can be fined Dh400 for not indicating before changing the line, or if the indicator lights are not working.

The new habit Mr Mohammed said he had to become accustomed to was ensuring passengers in the backseat of his car were buckled up. The amended traffic law makes wearing a seat belt mandatory for all passengers else the driver will be fined Dh400 and will be given four black points.

“Usually I have many passengers in the back, I am worried this will cause a problem. I did not even check if the seatbelts are working in the back,” said the 31-year-old site officer from India.

His five-year-old son will also have to stop sitting in the front seat. “Before he used to sit in the front, but starting today I will not allow him.”

In general, he believes the updated law is making people more aware of their driving habits, particularly rubber-neckers.

Haytham Zoor, a hairdresser from Lebanon, said he used to rubber-neck “out of curiosity, but now that there is a fine I will stop.”

“Usually the year passes by and I have 0 violations,” the 30-year-old said. He said he intended to maintain his nine-year streak despite stricter regulations.

“I don’t feel there is anything surprising in the new regulations, we hear about such in other countries, so obviously the UAE will start to apply them as well,” Mr Zoor said.