The new radar monitoring system, called Vehicular Attention and Safety Tracker (VAST), aims to automatically detect traffic violations and notify road users. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Abu Dhabi: Next weekend, a new system of radars is set to go live in Abu Dhabi with the aim of enhancing traffic safety. The system, developed by Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Police, was first displayed at Gitex Technology Week in Dubai earlier this month.

Ahead of its rollout, here is all you need to know:

What are the new radars that will become operational?

The new radar monitoring system, called Vehicular Attention and Safety Tracker (VAST), aims to autodetect traffic violations and notify road users. Abu Dhabi Police has demonstrated that the system will be able to detect the use of handheld devices by motorists while driving, as well as the failure to fasten the seat belt.

When will the autodetection system go live?

The system is set to be implemented from Friday, January 1, 2021, onwards.

What happens after the VAST system detects a violation?

According to Abu Dhabi Police, an SMS notification will be sent to errant motorists, asking them to immediately correct their behaviour. The notification will state ‘Violation for not wearing a seat belt’, for instance, ‘Violation for using mobile phone while driving’.

How does the autodetection work?

Abu Dhabi Police has set up radar monitoring elements to capture high-resolution images via artificial intelligence cameras. These images will be analysed by the system, developed in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, to rapidly detect violations regarding the use of seat belts and mobile phone usage.

Do I have to do anything ahead of the system’s rollout?

Abu Dhabi Police have not yet specified any action that needs to be taken by motorists. Instead, it has simply put this message across: ‘Your safety and the safety of road users is our priority.’

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Will violators be penalised if detected by the VAST system?

It is not clear at this point if the violations detected through the VAST system will lead to penalties. Statements from Abu Dhabi Police so far say that violators will be alerted through SMS notifications to correct their behaviour.

In general, the UAE Federal Traffic Law includes a Dh400 fine for not wearing a seat belt or for failing to secure a child in a car seat, along with four black points for the driver. Using a handheld device while driving invites a Dh800 fine, along with four black points.

Abu Dhabi Police also announced that 22,162 offences were registered in the first six months of 2020 against motorists who failed to wear seat belts on Abu Dhabi roads.