Opinions | City Talk

Plans to scrap old cars should be selective

Plenty of people in the UAE drive around in shiny brand new cars - far more people in fact than in many other countries.

  • By Daniel Bardsley, Fuad Ali, and Rayeesa Absal, Staff Reporters
  • Published: 00:33 September 30, 2007
  • Gulf News

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  • If I look after my car ... and drive in the right manner, then why should [it] be taken off the road, ask Hazim Ahmad Tawfiq.
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Dubai/Fujairah/Abu Dhabi: Plenty of people in the UAE drive around in shiny brand new cars - far more people in fact than in many other countries.

However, sharing the road with the latest models of cars are some vehicles that are starting to show their age.

City Talk took to the streets of Abu Dhabi and Dubai to ask residents if they thought banning vehicles that were more than 10 years old would help curb pollution, reduce accident rates and cut the number of vehicles on the road.

Syrian sales manager Ali Salameh, 45, said it might be a good idea to ban cars older than 10 years as long as exclusions were made for some "high-end" brands. "If all 10 cars aged 10 years are to be phased out to curb pollution, it means all Mercedes and BMW cars are put in the same category as Daihatsus, Daewoos or Chinese cars, and this is not fair," he said.

"I don't think a 1997 model German car causes more pollution than new cars in the market."

Mechanical engineer Khalid Ali Mohammad Ali, 27, also from Egypt, said removing older cars would speed up traffic on motorways and reduce pollution levels.

He, however, added: "Such a move will have a negative impact on many [low income] families and individuals. It will also put even greater strain on an already stretched public transport services."

Hiba Bobo, 25, a Lebanese student, said she did not think getting rid of vehicles aged over 10 years was sensible. "It is not practical and it is not something every car owner can afford. Now that the cost of living is sky rocketing, not everyone can think of changing their car every few years," she said.

Razwan Sulaiman, 31, an executive from Malaysia, said driving standards, and not the quality of vehicles, was the main road safety issue in the UAE. "The quality of the cars is generally good. You do not really find many old cars on the road," he said.

Palestinian auditor Joseph Kayssar, 33, said forcing people to get rid of their cars once these had reached their 10th birthday would not cut down congestion.

"People will simply replace their old vehicles with new ones. The quality of vehicles here is pretty good. You don't see many more than 10 years old - maybe two or three per cent," he added

Automobiles should be scrapped once they reach a certain mileage, rather than once they reach a certain age, according to public relations manager Mohammad Al Sebai, 38, from Egypt. "Some 10-year-old cars are in good condition - they might have only 70,000km on the clock. If it has done more mileage, the exhaust will emit more pollutants that will affect health," he said, adding that vehicles should be taken off the roads once they had done about 250,000km.

Sri Lankan office assistant Frederick Jayasinge, 23, said a 10-year age limit on cars was a good idea.

"Up to 10 years, the [automobiles] are in good condition, but after that they are very old," he said.

Egyptian cashier Hazim Ahmad Tawfiq, 30, said decisions about whether cars should be taken off the roads should be made on a case-by-case basis. "It depends on the condition of each car. If I look after my car in the right way and drive in the right manner, then why should my car be taken off the road?" he said.

Ahmad Mohammad Salama, 30, a civil engineer from Egypt, made a similar point.

"The suitability of cars should not be judged on age but rather on their actual condition after regular tests. We should not punish car owners who look after their cars because others neglect theirs," he said.

Hotelier Arun G. Menon, 34, from India, said eliminating cars more than 10 years old might have environmental and safety benefits, but would not reduce congestion.

"From the safety point of view, this step is always welcome as all machines have a performance period and especially a machine that deals with human lives should undoubtedly be in a pristine condition," he said.

Your comments

I totally agree with Dean. The age of the car has a minimal effect on its impact on traffic and the environment. Mileage is also irrelevant if worn parts are regularly replaced. The ONLY way to judge the continued usage of a car on the public roads is using the technical test which is already in place. Cars which are unsafe and/or damage the environment will not pass and ultimately be scrapped anyway.
Al Giasi
Posted: September 30, 2007, 13:09

Here is a question. When a car reaches 10-years-old what do we do with it then? Is it worth nothing? Will we just throw away a car worth more than 30000 dhs?
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: September 30, 2007, 11:57

What about classic cars ? Some classic cars from 1960 are in much better shape then cars from 2001. How will they differentiate ?
Posted: September 30, 2007, 11:43

This is a clear sign of a social divide. Just because some in our community can afford to change their car every three years or so, doesn't necessarily mean the population as a whole can as well. I do agree that there are some cars which pose potential hazard to others, and only those cars should be written off. I find no reason why a car should not be allowed on road just because it looks old, keep in mind one should keep their cars clean and polished.
Posted: September 30, 2007, 11:37

This will not be really suitable for all classes, since people can?t really afford to buy new vehicles or keep on changing vehicles after every 10 years.
Posted: September 30, 2007, 11:27

I can't say it is a good idea. Only if car dealers should buy back the car instead of scrapping.
Posted: September 30, 2007, 11:19

What's the use of car testing. I think if the cars are able to pass the car testing procedure then they should be allowed to be run on the road no matter what model they are. This is not fair the other thing to do is just make your testing procedure strict.
Abu Dhbai,UAE
Posted: September 30, 2007, 11:02

What I would like to say is that everyone cannot afford a new car so if the car is well- maintained and non-polluting there should be allowance made for that car.
Posted: September 30, 2007, 10:00

Why inflict more rules and restrictions on an already restricted society? The only people that will suffer from this are those that already are struggling to make ends meet. Why would you punish lower earning society so that the rich can enjoy congestion free driving? This is blatant discrimination; it is socially unjust and morally wrong. I am a western expat in the upper middle income bracket and still feel the pressure of living expenses of life in Dubai. Imagine the hundreds of thousands in a situation lower than mine. If the aim is to reduce the environmental impacts on the planet, start at home. Start recycling. Make high fuel consuming cars more expensive to buy. Regulate the motoring industry as it is in every western country, where vehicles must be tested annually to certify road-worthiness. The reason most older cars pollute more is because there is a problem with the engine so it is not running as efficiently as it should be. These cars should not be certified as road worthy until the problems have been fixed. Removing cars from the road that are more than 10 years old is an uneducated and unrealistic elitist decision.
Posted: September 30, 2007, 09:56

Our vehicles are being tested by the concerned authority every year and furthermore people are maintaining their own assets. And I don?t think a 10 year-old-car is a poor vehicle.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: September 30, 2007, 09:55

I would not want to invest a huge amount in brand new cars, so this idea of banning old cars is a bad one.
Posted: September 30, 2007, 09:52

Banning old cars will not resolve the traffic congestion in the country. Most people will always opt for a new one which is not tough to get due to various finance schemes.
Posted: September 30, 2007, 09:48

From the safety point of view, having a decent ten year old car is safer than having a crappy new car. Would you rather have "good" old cars or crappy new ones?
Posted: September 30, 2007, 09:06

If ten years is the cut-off point for all cars to be on the road I'm concerned that as a car nears that age it will not be maintained, for example the owner could possibly neglect replacing brakes etc. So a seven-year-old car may end up being less safe than a ten-year-old one now. There are many obviously non-roadworthy cars on the roads, these are the ones that need to be removed no matter what their age.
Posted: September 30, 2007, 08:02

I don't think this is a good idea. The vehicle will stay in good condition if they are maintained well. I know many people who drive 97 model cars that are in crisp condition with very low mileage. I myself used to be the owner of such a car. Elimination of old cars should be made selectively based on the condition and the level of emission.
Posted: September 30, 2007, 07:57

On the issue of road safety, as a car has to go through its annual test, surely this is the benchmark that tells whether a car is safe to be on the roads. Mileage and age of a particular car has no bearing on its safety. Indeed I would rather be in a 20-year-old Mercedes than a good percentage of 'new' cars should I be unfortunate enough to be in an accident. The answer to road safety is for a tougher driving test
Posted: September 30, 2007, 07:50

The plan to take old cars off the raods is not right. This will have a huge impact on the finances of middle-income earners.
Posted: September 30, 2007, 07:47

It is a good idea to evaluate the condition of the cars after 10 years. There should be a specific criteria to be used and should be communicated to users, so that they can take corrective measures if they want to keep them. Otherwise this will only help car makers and put unnecessary burden on common man with no value to environment, road safety or congestions.
Posted: September 30, 2007, 06:25

I don?t think its a good idea , not every body can afford to buy new vehicles, and the low-salaried people will lose lots of money, because when their car are 10 years old it will be worth nothing in the market. We have to think about people more than the pollution.
Al Ain,UAE
Posted: September 30, 2007, 04:29

The idea is good but on the other hand there should be a discount or price of new car should be subsidized to appreciate people?s effort in dumping their old car. But all in all, this will further encourage car sales. Old cars don't cause much pollution as new shiny 3,4 or 6 litre V8s. We should discourage use of such "new" cars.
Posted: September 30, 2007, 03:54

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