A senior police officer said a total of 10,766 fines were issued over the second half of 2017 in Abu Dhabi. He urged motorists to wear seatbelts for the safety of all, and asked drivers to ensure before driving the car that all those who are sitting in the rear seat have buckled up. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Taxi drivers should not get moving unless all passengers fasten their seat belts, a top police official told Gulf News.

After the stringent seat belt law came into effect on July 1, many taxi drivers have expressed concerns about whether they will be fined for carrying passengers who refuse to wear the seat belt.

Major-General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Assistant Commander-in Chief for Operational Affairs at Dubai Police and Director of the Federal Traffic Council, told Gulf News that taxi drivers can ask the passengers to wear the seat belt and if they refuse, they have the right to not start the ride. “Taxi drivers should be aware that all passengers need to wear the seat belt. If a passenger refuses, the driver has the right to not move the vehicle until the passenger complies,” Maj-Gen Al Zafein said.

He advised all drivers to educate their passengers of the fact that a refusal to wear the seat belt can lead to a Dh400 fine for the driver.

“The driver is the captain of the vehicle and he must control everything inside. Taxi drivers can persuade passengers even in the rear seats to wear the seat belt. Otherwise, they will be fined,” he added.

He claimed the officers will first warn the passengers who are not wearing seat belts in the backseat before issuing a Dh400 fine, “The fine must be in the presence of a policeman, not in absentia.”

In the first three days of the new law coming into effect, police issued nine fines to passengers not wearing seat belts in the backseat.

Meanwhile, Maj-Gen Al Zafein, said they will coordinate with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to provide extra child car seats in the taxis for families with more than one child under the age of four.

“We will speak with RTA to provide child seats in taxis in Dubai and will see if this suggestion works. These child seats need to be placed in the trunk of the car so that it can be used at the time of need,” he said.

Maj-Gen Al Zafein urged mothers to sit in the rear seats if they are carrying a newborn baby to ensure the safety of the baby.

“I don’t know why some mothers insist on sitting in the front seat, with their baby in their lap. They must sit in the back and put the child on their lap,” he said.

On Thursday, the RTA issued an advisory to all taxi franchises and limousine operators to provide child car seats at all times.