hit-and-run is primarily a misdemeanour, but it can become a felony if someone dies or is injured as a result of the accident, Dubai's chief traffic prosecutor has warned. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai Traffic Prosecution have warned motorists in the emirate against causing an accident and then leaving the scene without providing any information about themselves or offering assistance to the affected party.

Prosecutor General Salah Bu Farousha Al Felasi, Dubai’s Chief Traffic Prosecutor and Head of Dubai Traffic Public Prosecution, said hit-and-run is primarily a misdemeanour, but it can become a felony if someone dies or is injured as a result of the accident.

“Some traffic offences can be considered a crime like hit-and-run. According to UAE Traffic Law, the punishment is either imprisonment or fines starting from Dh20,000 if the accident results in death, injuries or damage to properties,” said Al Felasi during a virtual conference organised by Dubai Community Development Authority last Monday.

Drivers involved in accidents are either confused during the first few moments after the accident or they are not aware of the penalties. Either way, it does not exempt them from punishment if they escape from the accident site.

'Tougher punishment'

“When a driver is involved in an accident, it’s seen as a mistake. However, if he or she escapes from the spot, then he or she will get a tougher punishment. Leaving an injured person unattended at an accident site may lead to that person’s,” added Al Felasi.

Salah Bu Farousha Al Felasi

However, Al Felasi clarified that drivers involved in minor accidents, that do not result in any injuries or damage to any property can move their cars to a safer spot and then alert the police.

“The law gives a driver six hours to report an accident. If, for example, a driver had an accident on a busy road like Sheikh Zayed Road, then he or she should first move the vehicle to a safer area in order to avoid a traffic jam,” said Al Felasi.

The chief traffic prosecutor also said that records show that accidents caused in Dubai by drivers aged between 18 and 35 years usually result in either injuries or deaths.

“Speeding, using mobile phones and not leaving a safe distance between vehicles are the most common causes of collisions as motorists lose control of the vehicle, leading to deadly consequences,” said Al Felasi. “We have about 114 different types of traffic offences listed in the law, with all of them aimed at one thing — protecting lives.”

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Driving while feeling fatigued

Prosecutor Al Felasi also urged motorists not to drive while they feel tired or sleepy as it can lead to fatal accidents. He warned motorists against driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“It is also important for people to be aware of the medicine they take before driving. If a doctor has advised a driver to abstain from driving while on a specific medication and if the latter neglects such advice, then the driver will be held accountable as per the law,” Al Felasi cautioned.