Dubai: If you are at a road intersection in Abu Dhabi and have just realised that you need to take a left turn instead of going straight, take a look at the lane you are in. If you are not in a lane that goes left, it is best to continue on your lane and take a detour to reach your destination.
In a traffic safety video posted by Abu Dhabi police on April 10, motorists were advised to respect lane discipline and were warned that if they do take a left turn when they are on the middle lane of an intersection, they face a fine of Dh400.
If you are living in Abu Dhabi or visiting the Emirate, it is important to keep in mind all the rules that you need to follow as a motorist. Here is a quick roundup of some of the most common traffic violations you might commit and the fines and traffic points you may face.
Road and traffic fines in Abu Dhabi
The following traffic violations are part of the UAE Traffic Law, Ministerial Resolution No. (178) for the year 2017 on Rules and Procedures of Traffic Control as well as Law No. 5 for 2020 on impoundment of vehicles in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
1. Up to Dh50,000 for releasing an impounded car
A car can be impounded when a driver jumps a red light, is dangerous or reckless on the road, is involved in unauthorised road racing, and deliberately collides into a police car.
In addition, to the fines in the traffic law, Abu Dhabi police introduced Law No. 5 for 2020 on the impoundment of vehicles in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. According to the new law, reckless drivers will have to pay fines up to Dh50,000 to get their cars released for serious traffic offences in Abu Dhabi.
According to Abu Dhabi Police, a car can be impounded in situations when a driver:
• jumps a red light,
• is dangerous or reckless on the road,
• drives a vehicle with an obscured, concealed or distorted licence plate,
• is involved in unauthorised road racing; and
• deliberately collides into a police car.
2. Not abiding by lane discipline - Dh400 fine
A fine of Dh400 is imposed on motorists who do not adhere to traffic lanes on roads and intersection crossings. The fine is applicable for motorists that fail to go straight at an intersection when they are in a lane that is not meant for left turns.
3. Overtaking from the right
Another form of lane violation is when a motorist overtakes another car from the right. The left lane, which is also referred to as the overtaking lane, should be used if you wish to overtake a car in front of you. By overtaking from the right, you face a fine of Dh600 and six traffic black points.
4. Jumping a red light
Violators will be fined Dh1,000, and given 12 traffic black points, for jumping the red light. In addition, the vehicle will be impounded for 30 days. To release the vehicle from impoundment, the violator must pay Dh5,000. If the vehicle is not released within three months from impoundment, it will be auctioned off.
In February 2021, Abu Dhabi penalised a total of 2,850 motorists for jumping the red light.
5. Damaging a police car while driving
If a motorist damages or collides with a police vehicle, they will not only have to pay for the expenses of the damages inflicted but also have their vehicle impounded. The violator will need to Dh5,000 to release the vehicle.
6. Allowing children below 10 years to sit in the front seat of a vehicle
Motorists who have a child under the age of 10 sitting in the front seat will have to pay a Dh400 fine, along with having their vehicle impounded and paying Dh5,000 to release it within three months.
7. Speeding fines in Abu Dhabi
Here is a quick look at the fines you face if you go over the speed limit of a road:
• Causing an accident due to speeding, sudden swerving, failing to maintain sufficient distance, or failing to prioritise crossing pedestrians: Vehicle impounded and Dh5,000 for release of the vehicle from impoundment.
• Exceeding the maximum speed limit by more than 80 km/hour Fine: Dh3,000, Black Points.
• Exceeding the maximum speed limit by more than 60 km/hour Fine: Dh2,000 Black Points.
• Exceeding the maximum speed limit by no more than 60 km/hour Fine: Dh1,500 Black Points.
• Exceeding the maximum speed limit by no more than 50 km/hour: Fine: Dh1,000
• Fine: Dh1,000 Exceeding the maximum speed limit by no more than 40 km/hour Fine: Dh700
• Exceeding the maximum speed limit by no more than 30 km/hour Fine: Dh600
• Exceeding the maximum speed limit by no more than 20 km/hour Fine: Dh300
It is important to note that Abu Dhabi has done away from a 'grace speed limit' since 2018. A grace speed limit allows motorists to drive 10km/h or 20km/h above the designated speed limit mention on road signs. However, in Abu Dhabi, if you go over the designated speed limit in any way, you will face a penalty based on this list of fines.
Tailgating carries a Dh400 fine and four black points, but you will also have your vehicle impounded. The fee for the release of an impounded vehicle is Dh5,000.
In the past, Abu Dhabi Police has warned motorists that harassing vehicles in front of them, by approaching them at a close distance and forcing them to vacate the lane by flashing headlights, leads to distracting the driver in front of them and doubles the risk of serious traffic accidents.
9. Not giving way to pedestrians
On April 12, 2022, Abu Dhabi Police also warned motorists that not giving priority to pedestrians in designated pedestrian crossings would lead to a fine of Dh500 and six traffic points.
10. Fine for noisy vehicles and illegal modifications to car engine
Noisy vehicles are annoying for many road users and motorists caught making illegal modifications to a car engine to produce a loud noise are subject to a fine of Dh2,000 and 12 black points.
The violation of making changes to the vehicle’s engine or chassis without a licence would lead to it being impounded and releasing the vehicle would require the owner to pay Dh10,000 within three months.
11. Driving without a licence
This is a fine that will not only land you with a Dh5,000 fine but you may also be sentenced to three months imprisonment. Article 51 of the Federal Traffic Law states that a motorist, “Shall be sentenced to detention for a term not exceeding three months and/or to a minimum fine of Dh5,000, whoever drives a vehicle on the road without a driver’s licence or with a licence not allowing him to drive that type of vehicle.”
12. Littering on the road while driving
Throwing out a can of soda or a packet of chips from your vehicle? Think again, because you could face a fine of Dh1,000 along with six black points. You could also face additional municipal fines for the act of littering in public places
13. Driving with an expired vehicle registration
Driving a car with an expired vehicle registration leads to a fine of Dh500 and four black points, along with the vehicle being impounded.
14. Not wearing a seat belt
Failing to buckle up while driving will result in a Dh400 fine and four black points. This also applies to passengers who do not have their seat belts on.
15. Fine for using a mobile phone while driving
If you are busy scrolling through your messages or emails while driving, you could be fined Dh800 and four black points. The same penalty is also applied for other instances of distracted driving.
16. Sudden deviation of the vehicle
The fine for swerving suddenly while driving is Dh1,000, and four black traffic points. In addition, the vehicle will be impounded, and the motorist will have to pay Dh5,000 to release the vehicle. If all fines are not paid within three months, the vehicle will be auctioned off.
17. Fine for blocking number plate
If you have strapped a bike to your car or have attached excess items to your car, you might be blocking your number plate. Blocking the car number plate can lead to a fine of Dh400. According to Abu Dhabi police, at least 5,1777 motorists were fined for blocking their licence plate from view in the first six months of 2021.
On the other hand, driving a vehicle without a number plate can lead to strict penalties, including a fine of Dh3,000, 23 black points and the vehicle being impounded for 90 days.
18. Failure to stop for school buses
To ensure the safety of children on UAE roads, motorists who fail to stop when school buses raise the ‘Stop’ sign for school children leaving and entering buses will be fined Dh1,000 and slapped with 10 traffic black points.