Abu Dhabi/Dubai/Sharjah: Although motorists in Abu Dhabi and Dubai will not incur fines for crossing a yellow signal, authorities are urging them to stop at yellow lights for safety reasons.
"The yellow traffic signal is an indication for drivers to slow down, so they can stop on time when the signal turns red. It is not advisable for motorists to try getting across by speeding because it is just a matter of seconds before it turns red," Colonel Ghaith Al Za'abi, head of the Traffic Department at the Ministry of Interior told Gulf News.
"In case the driver crosses the signal just as it turns red, then he would have committed a serious traffic offence and will face penalties such as fines, black points and confiscation of the vehicle.
"Rather than tread the thin line, it would be much safer to slow down and come to a stop at yellow," he explained.
According to official statistics, between January 1 and September 30, more than 8,691 red signal violations were recorded across the UAE. In 2008, the number of red signal violations jumped by 1.62 per cent compared to 2007 figures.
Colonel Al Za'abi said that modifying driver behaviour was a significant step in making the roads safer.
"Drivers should always have in mind that a great deal of accidents happen close to traffic signals and jumping the red signal leads to many fatalities and injuries," he said.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, deputy director of Dubai Police Traffic Department, motorists must stop before a yellow signal, but crossing it will not result in a fine.
"We have radars and cameras at every light signal in Dubai and they are considered the most advanced and precise in the world. When the yellow signal starts to flash the video camera automatically operates while the radar operates when the signal hits red. The radar will never flash motorists if they are crossing a yellow signal," he said.
"Any violating person who is not convinced of their fines can request the traffic department to show them video footage," he added.
There were around 1,130 fines issued in the last three months of the year for red signal violations whereas 2,969 fines were registered in the same period last year.
However, according to statistics revealed by the department, seven people were killed and 12 severely injured for passing through red lights in the first eight months of 2009 whereas no fatalities were recorded in the same period last year.
"There is a reason why the traffic signal is made up of three lights; the yellow light is meant for the motorist to slow down and stop once reaching the red signal. It's a vital safety measure," he commented.
Meanwhile, a senior officer at the Sharjah Traffic and Licensing Department said motorists could be fined if they cross the light before it is about to turn red.
The police officer explained that all traffic signals in Sharjah have radars, and when the traffic signal changes from green to yellow the radar will automatically be switched on after one minute.
The officer said: "If a driver crosses the road when the traffic signal has just turned yellow then that is acceptable and he will not be fined because it will be difficult for him to slow down and stop. But if he is driving and sees the light has already turned yellow and he still continues to cross the road, then the radar might catch him.
"The reason is because the driver will be in the middle of the intersection when the traffic light turns red, and because of his reckless behaviour an accident can occur."
Motorists could face a Dh800 fine, eight black points and vehicle confiscation for 15 days.
Did you know about this rule? Do you pass a traffic intersection when the light is yellow? Have you been fined for it?