For Dubai’s speedsters, prison cells await
Dubai's traffic department is clearly saying 'enough is enough'. And Kipp couldn't agree more...
March 12, 2013 12:20 by Muhammad Aldalou
Dubai’s traffic department has announced they will be charging those caught driving above 200kph with criminal charges, which could land them with a two-year prison sentence.
Dubai’s roads are deadly. This is a pure, statistically-backed fact that you simply cannot argue with. And if statistics don’t cut it for you, then answer me this. When was the last time you felt absolutely safe while driving in Dubai? And if you actually have a recent memory of it, then there’s a good chance you’re one of the drivers adding to the horror out there. Unless you’ve been driving on a deserted highway at four in the morning and, even then, I wouldn’t fancy my chances.
The point is that, in the first eight months of last year, road accidents took the lives of 72 people in Dubai. Incidentally, this figure was an 11 percent drop from the year before, but still nowhere close to Dubai Police’s vision of having a ‘zero mortality rate’ on its roads by the year 2020.
Abu Dhabi, on the other hand, while working towards an identical goal of achieving absolute driver and pedestrian safety, hopes to get there ten years later. In 2012, the number of traffic casualties, fatalities and pedestrian deaths fell in the capital city by 20, 19 and 14 percent respectively.
As far as the public knows, both traffic departments work tirelessly to promote awareness of driving etiquette and safety in the emirates. They’ve used carrots, sticks and even a splash of Pavlov’s Dog methodology in their campaigns to get through to us. We’ve been told we’d be rewarded with white points if we just behaved ourselves. We’ve been told our black points could be erased if we drove well and attended awareness seminars. We’ve been threatened with increasingly expensive fines and consequences. Enough is enough.
The Dubai Traffic Department has decided to really take matters into their own hands with a new law. Technically, it isn’t new, but as The National reports; they’re making use of existing laws in the federal penal code to curb reckless driving. Any drivers caught driving over 200kph in Dubai will face criminal prosecution, which could probably lead to two years in prison or a handsome fine of 10,000 dhs (maximum). Or better yet, both.
The reasoning behind this strict implementation? Almost 15 percent of Dubai drivers fined for speeding every day are driving faster than 200kph. That’s ridiculous.
“Driving at such a high speed is a problem on our roads,” said Major General Al Zafeen, the head of Dubai traffic department. “The aim of this new procedure is to find an efficient measure to deter them. A fine is not enough.”
If you ask Kipp, this is long overdue. It might sound a little strange for a reckless driver to be charged in criminal court, but on the other hand, it makes perfect sense. There is absolutely no comprehensible reasoning to justify anyone driving at such a dangerous speed and subsequently endangering the lives of others on the roads – unless you have criminal intent. Your wife is in labour? Call an ambulance and drive behind it.
Currently, this new ‘policy’ has already been implemented in Al Warqa, an area in Dubai dubbed as being ‘popular for young drivers to race in’ but nationwide enforcement should soon be under way.
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