Dubai: The UAE Federal Traffic Council is considering lowering the driving age to 16 or 17, a top police official said.
Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Assistant to the Dubai Police Chief for Operations’ Affairs and Chairman of the Federal Traffic Council, said on Sunday the fact that, according to police statistics, drivers aged between 18 and 21 are less likely to cause accidents has made the police consider reducing the minimum driving age.
He said motorcycle licences are given at 17.
He added during the committee meeting on Sunday that riding motorcycles is more dangerous than driving cars.
“If teenagers at age 16 or 17 are allowed to get their driving licence this will prevent them from driving in an illegal and dangerous way, threatening their own lives and the lives of others.”
It is yet to be decided what the new minimum age limit to obtain a driving licence will be. The decision regarding the reduction of the legal age limit will be taken within a legal and procedural framework that ensures public safety.
The decision will help families who are reliant on those under 18 to run household errands.
The meeting also discussed various proposals and terms and conditions which would allow the age limit to be reduced, including having a close relative in the car with teenage drivers. The council discussed some of the regulations that may accompany such a change, such as the provision of a special speedometer capable of limiting the vehicle’s speed.
The current minimum driving age is 18 years, but people are allowed to apply for driving licences at the age of 17 years and six months so they can obtain their licence when they turn 18.
This topic came up during a meeting of the Federal Traffic Council, chaired by Major General Al Zafein in the presence of council members and police officials.
The meeting also discussed the legal age required to apply for a driving licence for light and heavy vehicles and buses.
A number of proposals were also discussed aimed at maintaining safety on the roads, such as prohibiting registration of minibuses carrying passengers due to the huge number of accidents caused by such vehicles. The meeting also discussed implementing fines and jail terms for some traffic violations that endanger people’s lives.
Major General Al Zafein also said that many of the country’s roads are unsafe for cyclists.
He suggested cycling be banned on roads with a speed limit of 50 km/h due to the difference between the speed of bicycles and the speed of vehicles.
Major General Al Zafein said bicycles could be ridden on the pavement while respecting pedestrians’ rights, saying that in the case of accidents injuries will be less severe compared with injuries resulting from accidents between bicycles and vehicles on main roads.