Dubai: Police have equipped two special rescue vehicles with a device to safely bring to a halt cars suffering from cruise control malfunctions, said Maj Gen Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Chief of Dubai Police’s Traffic Department.
If the trial is successful the device will be fitted on a number of police vehicles.
The move was prompted by five incidents in the past two years where police had to come to the rescue of motorists.
The device, which is attached to the police car, can also be used to stop and pursue vehicles driven by criminals through the use of impact absorption technology.
The development of the shock absorber device and fitting the police car with it came under the directives of Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Chief of Dubai Police.
Al Zafein explained to Gulf News how the device works, adding that it is currently being tested on two cars.
“The device is placed at the rear end of the car so the police car has to get in front of the vehicle which is being pursued. The device will suck the vehicle towards it causing it to collide with the police car which will then stop gradually.
“There are some ready-made accessories in the international market to absorb the impact, however the system under development could be the first of its kind for this purpose,” he said.
“Incidents where the cruise control has malfunctioned have noticeably recurred in the last two years. For this reason we have developed a mechanism that helps deal with the problem without causing any deaths, injuries and even major damage to the vehicles,” said Al Zafein.
He said that following the trial period the device will be fitted on a number of police cars and although there will be a collision, it will not be severe enough to cause major damage.
Al Zafein said that he has inspected a number of cases where the cruise control had malfunctioned and was briefed on the technical reports by insurance companies and major car agencies. “I was also keen to conduct a check-up to see whether the malfunctions occurred as a result of manipulation in the car’s computer or faulty repair by the mechanic at the workshop.”
Al Zafein said that cruise control has existed for the past 20 years and has developed over the past few years in a way that should stop such incidents from happening. However, the reason why the problem has been recurring is because people go to any garage or workshop when faced with cruise control malfunction.
“People should understand that repairing a defect in the cruise control is completely different from changing the oil. It is necessary to go to the agency that manufactured the car in order to ensure that they correctly scan the computer.”
Cruise control failure timeline
July 25, 2013: Traffic police save the life of an Emirati man whose cruise control fails while he is driving his four-wheel vehicle at a speed of 139km/h on Maliha Road on the way to Sharjah.
July 12, 2013: An Emirati woman is saved by traffic police patrols in Dubai while driving her car on Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road. Her cruise control failed while driving at high speed.
February 11, 2013: An Emirati mother saves the lives of her three daughters, her sister and a housemaid who were with her after the car’s cruise control failed at a speed of 138km/h on Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road on the way to Ras Al Khaimah.
August 30, 2012: Ras Al Khaimah Traffic and Patrol Department’s Rescue division rescue a man whose vehicle’s cruise control system gets stuck at 120km/h on Emirates Road.
February 25, 2012: Police rescue an Emirati man after he loses control over his vehicle’s car’s cruise control system at 160km/h. He activated the mechanism on the Abu Dhabi-Al Ain highway, but couldn’t turn it off.