Lack of lane change discipline Is the leading cause of road accidents in the UAE. According to official data, it killed 59 people and caused major injuries to 495 people In the UAE last year. About 420,000 fines were issued in 2018 for lane violations and 297,000 fines have been issued this year till October 1, according to the data obtained from Dubai’s Traffic Police department.
Dubai Police have installed a total of 15,000 security cameras all over the emirate. 250 live cameras are present on key roads and junctions to spot lane violations including Abu Baker Al Siddique road and Khalid bin Waleed road. The live feed is monitored in real time by traffic police officers who are seated at the Command Control Centre.
Al Najjar demonstrated how a motorist who took a left turn on a ‘right turn only’ lane was caught on camera and immediately issued a fine of Dh400 by the officer on duty. “Using the recorded video, we zoom in on the car number plate and take three photographs in order to prove that he has committed a violation. We also save the video as proof in case he disputes the fine.”
We are all police
Currently radars or drones aren’t being used to spot lane violations but motorists can report dangerous driving by calling 901. Captain Abdulla Al Mulla from the Traffic Police Department explained, “If someone wants to report a violation, he can call 901, choose his preferred language and select option 5 for ‘we are all police’. We would note the details of the motorist who allegedly committed a violation and send a warning SMS to him. The SMS would include our phone number and he can call back on that number. For the first three complaints, we only give warnings. However, if we receive a complaint for the fourth time, we issue a fine. To make sure the complainant isn’t lying, we record his call, save his name and contact details, and may even call him to the police station if need be.”
‘E-tickets’ can also be issued by police officers who are patrolling the streets. “If we witness any lane violation or dangerous driving, we can enter his number plate and the name of the road in our E-ticket system to issue a fine,” said Al Najjar. “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-president and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai has said that he wants the Dubai government to be paperless by 2020. That’s why the E-ticket system has been created where we can enter the details electronically. All Dubai Police cars have it.”
Al Najjar added, “If we see a motorist driving all the way only to change his lane near the signal, we can issue a fine through the camera installed near the signal. There are also cameras at exit signs that spot motorists who change lane in the last minute. There’s no flash in any of those cameras.”
Nobody likes a tailgater
Tailgating, failure to check blind spots and use indicators are among the main causes of accidents In Dubai, Al Najjar added.
“Tailgaters are usually monitored based on the reports from other drivers. People call us to complain about a tailgater and then we send an SMS to warn them. Tailgating is a very dangerous offence as it puts the lives of everyone at risk. What if the motorist in front of us is a new driver? He may get scared, hit the side wall and make an accident. The driver could be wounded or sick. He could have a heart disease, diabetes or blood pressure. She could be an old or pregnant lady. We never know the condition of the driver in front of us,” said Al Najjar urging all motorists to always maintain a safe distance of 200 metres.
Fines for lane violations
Penalty for tailgating: Dh400, 4 black points
Non-compliance with lane discipline for light vehicles: Dh400
Driving on lanes designated for buses or taxis: Dh400
Penalty if signal lights for changing lanes aren’t working: Dh400, 2 black points
Fine for wrong overtaking: Dh600, 6 black points
Fine for overtaking from road shoulder: Dh1,000, 6 black points
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