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Dubai: Dubai Police have fined at least 44,000 motorists for speaking or texting on mobile phones since the beginning of the year. And they are warning drivers that police are adopting a zero-tolerance policy on the offence.

“We are not relaxing our laws,” Maj Gen Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Director of the Traffic Department in Dubai Police, told Gulf News. “We will not tolerate such violations that often result in catastrophic accidents.”

The offence carries a Dh200 fine and four black points.

The 44,090 violations in the first 10 months of this year compare with 37,000 for the same period in 2012.

“The right way to use the phone while driving is to park your car on the side of the road — not while driving,” he said.

Maj Gen Al Zafein said that statistics showed Dubai’s traffic police issued 20,772 tickets to motorists who were caught using their mobile phones while driving during the first six months of this year. In the same period last year, Dubai Police issued 23,473 tickets.

Since June, Dubai Police have been getting tougher with drivers and Maj Gen Al Zafein believes using mobile phones and texting while driving are leading to more accidents.

He added that despite repeated warnings from police — combined with the Dh200 fine and four-point penalty — many motorists were still not getting the message.

He said some drivers are caught texting and driving or e-maiiling on their smartphones.

“The fines will not be issued for [hands-free talking] on the phone,” he said. “But those caught using phones while driving will be fined,” he said.

The clampdown on drivng and texting comes as he said 136 motorists have died on Dubai roads since January 1.

 

Bassma Al Jandaly is the Community and Crime Correspondent of Gulf News