Dubai: A new prize for motorists aged 18-21 was announced on Sunday as part of the Dubai Traffic Police white points system.

Motorists who have not committed any traffic violations for an entire year and have collected 24 so-called “white points” have been rewarded every year by Dubai Police since 2013.

In its fourth year this year, the white points will reward 1,800 safe motorists, an increase from 1,500 last year, said Maj Gen Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Assistant to the Police Chief for Operations Affairs and Head of the Federal Traffic Council (FTC).

He said the award ceremony’s date for this year has not been determined yet, but might be in mid-May.

Prizes have varied over the years and have included a car, cash prizes and gift vouchers.

Dubai Traffic Police and Hills Advertising signed an agreement on Sunday, and the company will contribute a car as a prize for one of the winners aged 18-21, bringing the total number of cars to be won this year to two.

“We increase the number of winners each year, as the number of Dubai residents increases. We expect to see the fruits of this initiatives after 10 years of its inception. As of now, it is difficult to tell how effective it has been as there is no definitive data detailing the number of people who are aware of this initiative, but we do see a decrease in the number of road deaths.”

Sami Al Mufleh, CEO of Hills Advertising, said: “We are happy to give one of the winners a car worth Dh80,000, in addition to contributing 25 other gifts to other winners. We look forward to honouring more winners in the coming years.”

In the first three months of 2016, motorists aged 18-21 caused 32 out of the total 376 accidents, killing one and injuring 35 people, and in 2015 the same age group caused 117 accidents out of 1,516, killing 15 and injuring 168 people.

“The numbers may seem low, but it is an issue. This age group is the most vulnerable due to their lack of experience and if we encourage them to be safe drivers they will grow up better drivers, that is why we are focusing on them,” Maj Gen Al Zafein said.

Motorists who have valid driving licences issued from Dubai with the registration licence of the vehicle owned by the same driver can qualify for the white points system.

Each eligible person can receive a total of 24 white points a year, two for each month. The points will be calculated at the end of each year. A motorist loses his or her entitlement to the month’s points on being involved in any kind of traffic violation during that month regardless of the vehicle being driven by the owner or not

Stringent punishment a deterrent

Reckless drivers who put people’s lives at risk should be given stringent punishment, a senior police official said.

Maj Gen Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Assistant to the Police Chief for Operations Affairs and Head of the Federal Traffic Council (FTC), said he believes that the FTC’s recent recommendation of detaining reckless drivers for a period of 24 hours would help reduce the number of violators who take rules lightly.

For those who are not motivated by initiatives such as the white points initiative to follow the rules, they will only respond to harsh measures, such as the detainment, which is allowed by law.

“When people have to wait for a couple of hours when getting their paperwork done they get agitated and feel like their time is being wasted. Imagine if a young person is detained for 24 hours, it will have an effect on him,” he said during a press conference announcing a prize targeting youth as part of the white points system.