Dubai: If you have just had a minor traffic accident, should you stay where you are and wait for the police to arrive? Will moving your vehicle to the road side lead to any problems with the police authorities?
Major or minor, any traffic accident in the UAE needs to be reported to the emirate’s police authorities. In case of major accidents, which may involve an injury, the emergency hotline 999 also dispatches an ambulance, with paramedical staff, immediately. So, if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of a motor accident, these are the basic steps you need to follow.
Step 1 – Do not obstruct the road
If possible, in a safe manner, it is important for all motorists involved to safely move the vehicles to an area where they are not obstructing traffic. Switch on your hazard lights and move your car to the nearest safety location. In a soial media post on April 26, Sharjah Police urged motorists to not obstruct traffic, as minor traffic accidents can lead to long tailbacks. Instead, motorists should move to the side and contact the relevant police authroity.
Step 2 – Check if the passengers are okay
If there is a serious injury, or a major accident, call the police hotline on 999 immediately. The call centre will dispatch an ambulance and police patrol to the location immediately. Provide the exact details of your location, including any landmark or road exits that can help the officials reach you at the earliest.
Step 3 – Report the accident
Call 999 and explain to the operator that you have been involved in a crash and require police assistance. Take some pictures of the damage done to your car, but ensure you do not take photographs of any people, as it violates the UAE’s laws to photograph people without their permission.
In case of a minor accident, where the party at fault is clearly agreed upon by the two parties, Dubai Police advises motorists to report the accident through the Dubai Police app.
How to report via the Dubai Police app
• Download the app on iTunes or on Google Play
• Click on report an accident service
• A map will pop up with your location, so enable your location services
• Click report accident and list the vehicles involved.
• Choose the vehicle types.
• Take a photo of the damaged area of your vehicle.
• Enter the details about the driver responsible for the incident.
• Click on "options" and describe the cause of the incident.
• Enter your contact details.
• Once you have completed the process, you will be informed if you can leave the scene of the accident. You may also receive a call from a police official confirming the accident before the report is issued.
In Dubai or other emirates, in case of minor accidents, you may also be asked to visit the nearest police station to file the report.
Report a minor accident at a petrol station
Dubai motorists can also report accidents at some Enoc petrol stations, as Dubai Police have trained staff to receive reports of minor traffic accidents on Dubai Police smartphone app. People can go to petrol stations instead of police stations to avoid queues.
What if the other driver speeds away?
This is clearly against UAE’s laws and if you find yourself in such a situation, try to note the licence plate or the make and model of the car at the least.
It is illegal to leave or run away after an accident, and may result in a penalty of minimum Dh500 and five black points on your driving licence, along with confiscation of the car for at least a week. The penalties may be more severe in case of a major accident.
Step 4 – Wait for the police personnel to arrive
It is important wait calmly as the police officers arrive at the scene, and not get involved in any arguments with the other motorist. Once the police patrol arrives, you would be required to hand over your driver’s licence as well as the car’s registration card. Explain the situation to the police officers when they arrive at the scene, who will then investigate the accident and issue tickets accordingly. While earlier the parties would be handed over a paper, stating which motorist is responsible for the accident, the reports are now also being sent on email. The accident report would determine which motorist is liable for the accident and which is the affected party.
Documents you should always carry
As a motorist, it is essential that you always carry certain documents with you, in case of an accident:
• Emirates ID, if you are a resident of the UAE
• Passport copy, in case you are a tourist or visitor
• Valid UAE or international driving licence
• Vehicle registration card
• Medical Insurance card (this is important if you obtain any serious injuries and need to be treated immediately).
Step 5 – Raise any repair work with your insurance provider
Once you have the police report, you can contact your insurance provider to find out the next steps for getting any repair work covered under insurance. If you were driving a rental car, you would need to report the accident to the rental company, which will then advise you on the next steps.
The insurance company will generally handle claims to the other parties’ insurance provider for repairs.
On February 17, Dubai Police also posted an awareness message on its official social media channels on the steps you should take if youare involved in a minor traffic accident:
Even if your car is hit while it was parked, it is important to notify the police. Without a police report, you will not be able to raise a claim with your insurance provider. Also, according to Article 41 of UAE Federal Law No, 21 of 1995, no garage owner may take up repair work of a vehicle bearing any signs of an accident, without the approval of the licensing authorities.
Once you notify the police, they will issue ‘unknown accident’, according to the Dubai Police call centre, the cost of which is Dh420. You can then submit the report to your insurance provider.
What to do if you damage a property with your vehicle?
Even if you drive into something, other than another vehicle, which causes damage to your car or a public or private property, you still need to file a police report. If the accident is minor, you need to follow the steps stated above to file a report with the police.