UAE | Traffic and Transport

Drivers flout law on using phones

Police catch more than 13,000 violators in the first six months of the year

  • By Iman Sherif, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 October 20, 2011
  • Gulf News

A motorist talking on mobile while driving
  • Image Credit: Asghar Khan/Gulf News
  • If you use a mobile or iPad while driving, beware. You will have to pay Rs500 (Dh35) as penalty. And if the offence is repeated, the fine may climb to between Rs2,000 and Rs5,000

Abu Dhabi: More than 13,000 drivers were fined for using a mobile at the wheel in the first six months of the year.

Police warned they will be cracking down on motorists who flout the law requiring them to use only hands-free phones while on the road.

Read reports from the Make It Safe campaign

"Driving is a complex task. It requires attention to use and coordinate several skills simultaneously. Any lapse in concentration increases the risk of getting into an accident, causing serious damage or even death," Colonel Jamal Al Ameri, public relations director at the Traffic and Patrol department of Abu Dhabi Police, told Gulf News.

Figures show 13,389 drivers were caught on their phones between January and June, compared to 13,100 violations for the same period last year.

"Driving while using a hand-held mobile phone can distract drivers, affect their reaction time and visual search pattern, impair their ability to maintain speed and position on the road of the vehicle, weaken their ability to judge speed and distance, and reduce their overall awareness of what is happening on the road," Al Ameri added. "The recent death of two Emirati footballers was contributed by cell phone usage and gave more visibility to this issue.

"The need to drive carefully increases with the winter approaching. During winter, roads become more dangerous in times of rain or fog. It entails reduced visibility and slippery conditions.

"Speeding is another major factor in road accidents and fatalities," Al Ameri added, pointing out that 1.48 million speeding violations were recorded between January and June, compared to 896,811 for the same period last year.

The department is on a continuous mission to increase awareness of the dangers of inappropriate driving and excessive speed, aiming to educate people on safety and skills.

"A campaign was launched in September focusing on young drivers. The campaign includes class time in high school on safety tips, driving techniques and a view of the potential outcomes due to accidents," Al Ameri said.

Laws modified

The authorities are also taking steps to modify driving laws. "New driving licences will no longer be automatically issued for a five-year period to new drivers. Instead, new licences will be granted for one-year period, renewable if drivers remain accident and ticket free," Al Ameri said.

"Parents should not allow children who do not have licences to drive," he said. "Parents and guardians must also pay attention to conditions of the vehicles. New scratches or dents are indications that must be of concern."

Comments (6)

  1. Added 16:20 October 20, 2011

    Using mobile phones while driving has certainly become a controversial issue. I don’t understand the fact that why drivers continue to use mobile phones while driving despite the various campaigns and articles published. They are not only putting their lives at risk but also the lives of other drivers and innocent pedestrians. I am glad that the authorities have taken the initiative of fining such inconsiderate people and making roads safer and better for other people to drive.

    Faine Rego, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 15:15 October 20, 2011

    this is a very good initiative from the Police Department but make the fine more hefty maybe into thousands so everybody will points are good but make them pay for their violation by paying hefty fines

    Michael, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 14:43 October 20, 2011

    We appreciate this step, however people who are crossing the road while talking on phone should also be fined.

    Khan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 13:32 October 20, 2011

    UAE government should announce a strict rule for using Mobile Phone in the vehicle: (1) Government should provide a wireless bluetooth to driver upon registration of vehicle along with number plate, and take a reasonable rate frrom the vehicle owner (2) Traffic deparment put huge fine to drivers who is not following wireless blue tooth (3) also announce very strict rule and penalty /same capital punishment to the drivers, because mobile phone is reason for killing innocent people (4) who is not following rules they should not driver in the UAE road I hope that you will forward this to Dubai ruler and Traffic head Mr Dhahi Kalfan

    Abdul Samad, Dubai, India

  5. Added 11:37 October 20, 2011

    In the current month it has become a common site now that on Sheikh Zayed road we see a queue of cars involved in a single accident - 5 or 7 cars at a time. This is mainly due to bumper to bumper speed driving. I am sure that many of our safe drivers and Dubai police has repeated in news papers and also Driving institutes in their lecture for all of us , here are few lines repeated to avoid accidents - 1. Sleep early and Get up early in order to avoid racing in the morning. 2. SAFE DISTANCE seems a word only to be read and kept to training books , please practice it at every point of time your car must be at a 12 meter front the car in front. 3.Ideally a driver should be able to see a full car in the rear view mirror but what we see is only the front glass and driver that means a distance of only of a meter at the back of the car - a slow down or a break there it goes - queue of no. of car lined up in a accident. 4. Do not allow your children to open and get a tourist view from the sun roof as one brake and it can be the last view or harm the child badly. 5. NO BABIES / MOMS with babies in front seat.Always back seat with safety belt on and baby seat installed. 6. Police must also record in cameras such cars and impose fines as this can avoid accidents drastically. 7.Take position for your destination in advance to avoid hurried change of lanes . 8.Follow your lane. 9 .Big 4WDS in particular + others keep STOP blinking your car head lights from a short distance to get others out of your way so as to can race ahead.This puts pressure on the driver in front to take hasty decision at times as he may not have space on his side to give you way . 10 .Spent 700 dhs / less and get a blue tooth installed in case your car is not a full option in other avoid lane clashed , emergency brakes and usage of handsets which blocks side views for safe driving.

    imran , Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 09:57 October 20, 2011

    I think strict compliance of law in roads and transportation should also be implemented here in Dubai since Abu Dhabi has been known for its strictness in Law especially on roads and transportation. I have seen not just once but more than twice incident of drivers using mobile phones while driving. Taking at speed and turning to any intersections without warning. This habits are putting other people at risk. Even I experience one RTA Driver who did not even slow down while reaching a pedestrian lane. He even complain while people cross were in he should stop to let them cross. Let us all be aware of the safety of everyone.

    Shama, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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