Dubai: Drivers without significant driving experience shouldn’t be allowed to get behind the wheels of supercars like a Ferrari or Lamborghini, parents and Dubai’s motoring fraternity said in the wake of a deadly crash last week.
Indian expat Ghazi Vahedna, 20, died in the early hours of July 14 when he crashed his father’s canary yellow Ferrari into a palm tree near Dubai Motor City, apparently unable to navigate a sharp bend.
The Italian supercar caught after it flipped over a couple of times. Ghazi died from shock and head injuries on his way to the hospital.
The incident not only left the family shell-shocked but has also raised questions about road safety, including whether there should be greater control over who drives such supercars.
The answer, however, came out loud and clear – from worried parents, fellow drivers in the UAE, including readers from abroad who read the XPRESS report last week.
“I appeal to the parents not to give the keys of such cars to their kids and prevent them from driving such vehicles till they get three to four years’ experience,” said a reader from Pakistan.
“Parents, think of the next time you give a fast car to a young racer or speed enthusiast who does not understand the difference between a race track and a normal road,” said another reader from Dubai.
The current UAE traffic laws however do not impose any restrictions on an individual from driving a car of his choice, so long it is within the category of the licence obtained, explains Ahmad Bahrozyan, CEO of the RTA’s Licensing Agency. Several developed countries, though, impose limitations on novice drivers, typically defined as those with less than three years of experience.
“Restrictions on such drivers usually get reduced as they keep gaining experience, but initially one of the restrictions often seen is on driving what are broadly called high-powered vehicles,” he told XPRESS.
“We raised this suggestion a few times at the Ministry of Interior and my understanding is it is under review. The reason why we haven’t implemented it in Dubai is because we feel it will be more effective if it is brought out at the level of the federal government because the UAE is very small and people from other emirates also drive on the roads of Dubai,” Bahrozyan explained. He, however, added there was no need for separate licences for supercars.
James Burnett, who established the Dubai Autodrome’s Race and Drive School, suggests another way out: “I don’t think there needs to be a separate licence for driving a supercar, but maybe there should be a premium for young drivers by the way of insurance. This is how the system works in Europe with the insurance being much higher for under-25-year-olds.”
Ramez Azzam, a racing instructor at Dubai Autodrome, explains how it works in Europe and the UK. “In the UK, the insurance policies are in the name of individuals and not vehicle owners. So typically it gets more expensive for a 25-year-old to get insurance to drive a Ferrari than for a 40-year-old to do the same. This practice sometimes goes a long way in keeping the young people away from the wheels of such cars.”