Residents outside a building on fire in Sharjah. Image Credit: Atiq Ur-Rehman / Gulf News

Dubai: Authorities in the UAE have issued a stern reminder to stop people from gathering in crowds to stare at accident sites.

The Ministry of the Interior has warned residents not to gather near victims in the event of an emergency, and not to use their mobile phones to takes photos or videos of the incident, as it may cause further psychological damage to the victims and their families.

According to police, rubberneckers and crowds can also cause further injuries to victims by delaying rescue teams to arrive promptly at the accident site, such as ambulances and fire fighters.

Ministry of Interior warning
The UAE Ministry of Interior urged residents not to form crowds at accident sites that may delay emergency vehicles. Image Credit: Supplied

As part of the ministry’s clampdown against rubberneckers and crowds, people who block the road and delay emergency vehicles from passing through will be penalised with a Dh3,000 fine.

Motorists will also be slapped with six black points for not giving way to emergency and police vehicles, and their vehicle will be impounded for 30 days, according to Abu Dhabi Police.

Residents will face legal consequences for posting photos and videos of traffic accidents in the UAE, and will be subject to a hefty fine ranging from Dh150,000 to Dh500,000, and up to six months of imprisonment and/or six months in prison.

The strict penalties were enforced according to the UAE’s Cybercrime Law No 5 of 2012, Article No. 21, and prohibits anyone to use an electronic device that invades a person’s privacy.

Last year, Abu Dhabi Police were on the hunt for residents who recorded a horrific traffic accident and posted it on social media. The video showed how a reckless driver rammed into a 19-year-old Arab national, who happened to be standing on the median strip.

The Ministry of Interior stressed that motorists and pedestrians should pay attention to the sirens and lights of emergency vehicles, and pointed out that everyone has the responsibility to contribute to the public’s safety.