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New drivers to get two-year licence, starting from July 1

Driving licence for expats to be renewed for five years instead of 10 years

Abu Dhabi: Starting from July 1, new drivers of all ages will get a two-year driving licence, according to new traffic rules issued by Lt. General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

Driving licences will subsequently be renewed for 10 years, renewable for similar periods for citizens, while expatriates will be entitled to renew their licences for five years, renewable for similar periods.

The new rules will not affect existing driving licences as these rules will have no retroactive force on commitments that existed, before the enactment of the law, legal experts said.

Under the ministerial decree no. 177 of 2017, driving licences of less periods or at least one year may be issued for certain categories, based on recommendation from the Federal Traffic Council.

Traffic licensing authorities will coordinate with health authorities so that patients with certain ailments that affect their fitness to drive will not be issued driving licences, according to the new rules.

Major General Saif Al Zafeen, Chairman of the Federal Traffic Council, told Gulf News, the move is meant to prevent people with chronic disease from driving, which endangers the lives of the road users.

“The move will reduce traffic accidents caused by drivers who are suffering from chronic diseases as these affect motorists’ ability to drive safely,” Maj. Gen. Al Zafeen said.

He added medical facilities will be linked to the traffic departments across the country, which will monitor motorists’ health and also allow sharing of the medical reports of all drivers.

Maj. Gen. Al Zafeen said diseases preventing people from obtaining driving license include epilepsy, and sudden acute bouts of diabetes.

The new rules put the speed limit for vehicles in residential areas at 40 km per hour, and warn drivers against making noise or endangering lives of pedestrians near hospitals and schools.

The new rules authorise traffic departments in coordination with transport authorities to assign designated routes and times for buses.

The new rules put controls on quad bikes to protect children on roads. “All motorbikes must be registered and licensed and quad bikes will only be driven at desert and sand areas,” states the new ministerial decision.

The new rules allow drivers to seat children aged 10 or more in the front seat, obliging young children to be strapped into safety seats.

Wearing a seatbelt while travelling in a car will be compulsory under new laws to be enforced from July 1 and drivers will be fined Dh400 and receive four black points on their licence for failing to ensure that all adults and children in their car are buckled up.

The correct use of car seats can reduce the likelihood of deaths by 70 per cent in infants, and by 54 to 80 per cent among young children, according to the World Health Organisation.

Maj. Gen. Al Zafeen allayed the publics’ concerns over the new traffic rules and said to drivers: “Drive safely, abide by law and avoid tickets and black points.”

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