Dubai Police Traffic Chief Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein answered Gulf News reader questions live on GN Radio 2 today.
Here is the full text of the conversation:
12:06 Gulf News: Good afternoon everyone! Tune in to 99.3FM/Radio 2 in a few minutes. Listen to Dubai Police Traffic Chief answer reader questions live!
12:06 Gulf News: Child safety on the roads, texting while driving, tailgating, motorcyclists, jaywalking.... Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein will answer your questions.
12:22 Gulf News: Reader question on children not wearing seatbelts, hanging out of cars and overall poor safty standards.
Dubai Police Traffic Chief Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein: The police is doing their job but responsibility also lies with the parents. Sometimes we see parents letting their children out of their cars. We are imposing fines and impounding cars. The car can be confiscated for two months or the person needs to pay Dh5,000-6,000 for the impounding period.
In all our campaigns we are raising awareness. We distributed 300 car seats last year in our campaign. This is a safety issue. Parents need to take responsibility of their child’s safety. If you don’t have a car seat you need to make them sit in the backseat with an adult. A mother cannot sit in front seat with a child even if she is wearing the seat belt. We have to be a role model. If I don’t wear a seatbelt, my children will not wear a seatbelt either.
12:25 Gulf News: Reader question: Vans and trucks drive very badly, why is not enough being done.
Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein: We are doing 20,000 violations for heavy vehicles and 15,000 fines for buses in general. I understand his concern specially on high-speed roads. In my opinion there should be separate roads for heavy vehicles and passenger cars because they are doing the chaos. We are in talks with the RTA on this.
12:33 Gulf News: Reader Question on the problem of texting while driving and reading the paper while driving. Are you planning to come with rules to curb this tendency and a only hands-free policy?
Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein: I notice this everywhere, all over the world. People cannot do without their phones, either talking or texting. They can talk without having to hold their mobile in their hands while driving. Last year, we gave tickets to 44,000 drivers. I know the problem is huge and we are doing our best. But let me talk about using the phone while driving. Many people complain that when we were given the ticket when I was using the phone while I was stopping at a traffic signal. My advice is don’t talk on the phone itself while driving. It seems like you are abiding by the laws if you are not holding the phone, but my advice is don’t use the phone. Even if police give tickets, people will not stop. People say we’ve been using the phone for so long and nothing has happened to me. My advice is it can happen suddenly and it will be too late. So my advice is just don’t use the phone while driving.
I’ve seen people getting dressed or applying makeup while driving. Their safety is in their hands. They have to protect themselves and they have to protect others. This comes down to the same thing – not paying attention while driving.
12:40 Gulf News: Reader Question: What can cyclists and motorcyclists do it they are abused or disrespected on the road by other drivers?
Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein: I am against cyclists driving on the road because it is very dangerous, threre are no separate lanes on the road. By law, the bicycle is categorized as a vehicle. Cyclists have to be very careful. I am against bicycles being driven on the road because it is very dangerous. When it comes to motorcyclists, their speed is closer to that of the car. If you see a motorcycle, be careful. Try to reduce your speed because God forbid if you hit the motorcycle a lot of damage will be done to the motorcyclist.
We have a programme called ‘We are all policemen’. The number for the programme is 800 4353 whenever you see bad driving wrong on the road, call the number. If you see bad driving, call them and they will call back the person who was driving badly. Even if they don’t impose a fine, they will advice the motorist to drive carefully.
12:54 Gulf News: Reader question: I see people do not maintain proper distance while driving. What is the police doing about this issue?
Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein: We are doing a campaign in two months regarding not maintaining safe distance, changing lanes without indicating. In general , this is really bad behaviour on the road. We are encouraging people to give way on the road, especially if someone has to change a lane in an emergency. The police are doing their job they are confiscating cars, they are giving fines. At the end of the day we don’t want to give fines just for the sake of giving fines, we want to change in driving behaviour. Whenever you see someone tailgaiting you, call 8004353. The police will do their job.
May be there is something wrong with our grace speed in the fast lane. I encourage people to not use the fast lane if you are driving at 100km/hr on a road that has a speed limit of 100km/hr. Because the fast lane is for someone who is driving at 120km/hr which is the grace speed.
Effect of a hit
The kinetic energy in a moving car is fine, until it has to stop. All this energy will result in damage or injuries if the car has to stop. The effect of the driver hitting the dashboard or hitting the windshield if you are driving at 120km/hr is like someone falling from the 19th floor of a building.
12:59 Gulf News: Reader question: Is there a law for giving way to people
Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein: We have some zebra crossing controlled by traffic signal. But I have to agree with you, we have some zebra crossing not controlled by traffic signal. In the past, we were encouraging people to stop at the zebra crossing, but there were some people who stopped and some people didn’t, which was leading to accidents. We had people and children who died in such accidents. It is like a trap.
So do not stop at zebra crossings if there are no traffic lights. We are demanding the RTA to have traffic lights on all zebra crossings.
We have to clarify, I am against any uncontrolled zebra crossing, because it causes a dilemma. Does he cross … Is it permitted for him to cross. As a driver, if you see a pedestrian about to cross, just let him cross along with signaling other lanes to stop. As a pedestrian, if you see a lot of cars on the road just don’t cross. Wait for the road to clear.
1:05 Gulf News: Reader question on cutting lanes.
Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein: It is not our role to put police everywhere. I understand that people break rules, but again I would ask you to call 800 4353 to report such incidents. In this way, at least we will call the motorists and talk to them.
Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein says if you feel there are not enough police on the roads, send your feedback to them on their website dubaipolice.gov.ae or call us on 6944444
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1:11 Gulf News: Thank you for joining us. Our live event will now be ending.