Setting up grace allowances in speed limits has been the norm all along in the UAE but now, Abu Dhabi’s decision to eliminate this buffer and instruct motorists to strictly adhere to the posted speed limit will usher in a new driving discipline. This decision is based on empirical proof that allowing motorists a freedom of choice in determining their own ‘limit within a limit’ invariably leads to speeding.

The new rule, which comes into effect from August 12, is uncompromising: If the speed limit is 120km/h, it means exactly that. Driving at 121km/h will constitute a violation. This is a marked departure from the present culture of carrot-and-the-stick with motorists allowed to enter a buffer zone that is above the stated speed limit before they are finally caught for speeding. This concession, as one may call it, works in two ways: It offers motorists a false sense of freedom, which then lulls them into a mistaken sense of control and usually, this combination results in speeding. Now, in the absence of any such sops, motorists will be forced to operate in a perpetual state of alertness.

Abu Dhabi has done a commendable job in taking this step and it will certainly further improve the capital’s driving discipline. Having said that, the introduction of a similar initiative across the country will be a great step forward, too. For a motorist, it can be cause for concern to deduce various speed limits and built-in buffers inter-emirate. The presence of uniform speed limits across the country can lead to an exponential improvement in road safety and driving discipline.