UAE | Crime

Cruise control ‘runaway’ cars: rescue at hand in Dubai

Dubai Police develop device to deal with increasing incidence of cruise control malfunction

  • By Noor Nazzal, Staff Report
  • Published: 22:07 August 21, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Gulf News
  • Dubai Police patrols will be equipped with a shock absorber system that gradually stops vehicles suffering from cruise control malfunction.

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.

Comments (15)

  1. Added 19:19 August 22, 2013

    its a good initiative by police. i there apart from this on the high way an opening to exit to desert may be kept after each 20 KM .

    Dewan, Abudhabi, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 17:49 August 22, 2013

    I am very concerned by the comments here. I believe the incidents of cruise control malfunction in the UAE are being fabricated to cover up peoples speeding. It seems strange that all of the cases, the cruise control jammed at a speed higher than the speed limit. It also seems strange (unbelievable) that people were unable to apply the brakes, the hand brake or turn off the car. I doubt that these cases have been investigated by the manufacturers and it's strange that it only seems to affect UAE cars. I don't know where GN reader Ibrahim buys his cars but if his cruise control stops the brakes from being usable then I would suggest his car should be impounded until he can fix the problem.

    Jeymer Hareo, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 14:43 August 22, 2013

    Ibrahim, there is no cruise control in the world that controls the brakes. You my friend, need an education on cruise control. This is problem that needs to be addressed through education or removed as a factory custom modification

    Yusef, Dubai, Oman

  4. Added 14:08 August 22, 2013

    Its always better to use cruise control out of city when traffic is less and should not be fixed above than 120 KPH.

    Amir Rashid, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 14:03 August 22, 2013

    Well, i agree to educate people.. but technical malfunction may happen... i guess it's a good initiative by police.

    Majid, Doha, Qatar

  6. Added 13:42 August 22, 2013

    For those stating that this isn't a problem, don't you think that the people involved would have tried to apply the brakes ? And apparently that does not work ? Obviously this is a scary situation in which nobody would want to be in and people should try to feel what the person involved would be feeling like rather than simply stating that people in the UAE do not know how to use or disengage the cruise control.

    Nasir, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 12:47 August 22, 2013

    Hmm, agree with comments above. I've never heard of this problem in other countries and I've used cc for years. Can't understand why (a) apply footbrake (b) apply hand brake (c) switch to neutral and (d) turn off engine wouldnt work. Seems drivers should be educated (on this and so much more i.e. the above examples many were also peeding). Is use of cc covered in the UAE driving test?

    s will, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 12:22 August 22, 2013

    Appreciate the efforts of Dubai Police who proactively think and find solutions to the common man's problems.

    Roy Koshy, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 12:02 August 22, 2013

    It might be that the cruise control is malfunctioning, but I think its a bit tricky if it means if you switch it on, you can't use your brakes anymore or switch the gear or whatsoever...Sounds strange...Also education is everything. what to expect if some technical issue occurs....I would say - people wake up...

    Thomas, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 11:09 August 22, 2013

    If the cruise control fails - can't one just switch off the engine to bring the car to a halt ?

    L.Fernandes, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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