Register for our free newsletter

Latest News

Dubai’s deadly drink-driving

Dubai’s deadly drink-driving

A recent report suggests Indians are the most frequent drunk drivers in Dubai. Kipp isn’t surprised, but singling out one ethnic group won’t solve the problem.

October 18, 2010 2:11 by

Road fatalities are one of Dubai’s major problems. In fact, road accidents are the plot of choice for a series of local films; Young UAE based director Mohammed Mamdouh’s first two films Hit and Run and An Emirati Dilemma both revolved around the issue of the fatal driving habits of UAE residents.

You don’t really need to step into a cinema, though, to be aware of the issue. Simply driving down Sheikh Zayed road is enough to induce megalomaniac road rage in even the calmest of drivers, as Kipp has noted a number of times. But while, at the time, it seems as though nothing could be worse than driving home from work, driving late at night during the weekend is worse. Put simply, too many drivers have over-indulged with alcohol, when they shouldn’t indulge at all if they’re driving..

Despite the zero tolerance policy of Dubai Police, there are still a considerable number of casualties resulting from drunk driving in the city. Emirates 24/7 reports that “latest statistics from the Dubai Traffic Police reveal that 63 people were injured in accidents related to driving under the influence of alcohol” in the first nine months of the year.

The statistics also show that 39 percent of the offending drivers are Indian, with Emiratis coming next on the list with a share of 13.6 percent, and Filipinos coming in third with 10.5 percent.

The article was titled “Indians top drive-drinking offenders list in Dubai.” This is no great shock for Kipp, since Indians make up the largest ethnic group in Dubai, with recent estimates putting their number at 1.75 million. It’s a classic case of elementary probability. Perhaps the more significant news is that one of the UAE’s smallest ethnic groups came in second in the list.

But all this blame game misses the larger point: there is an unacceptable culture of drink-driving in Dubai, and we all know it. All of society must tackle it, not just one ethnic group.

What do you think? Do Indians deserve to be singled out? What needs to be done to prevent drink-driving?

Tags: , , , , , , ,


  1. Dismanirie on October 19, 2010 7:36 am

    Only when all cars are fitted with a foolproof breathalyzer ignition interlock will the problem of driving under the influence of alcohol be resolved.

    Then what about those driving under the influence of other chemical compounds?

  2. Justin on October 19, 2010 10:20 am

    I dont think Indians need to be singed out. Infact the number of Indian offenders is in keeping with the population of Indians in Dubai. This is similar to a report which appeared a couple of years back saying that Pakistani drivers were the most dangerous. What do you expect with most truck drivers and taxi drivers being Pakistanis. We need to present these figures in a more professional manner.

  3. Andrew on October 19, 2010 12:29 pm

    Without getting into the debate of numbers, the fact Indians and Emiratis are 1 & 2 doesn’t surprise; cannae hold their drink.

    Whilst I honestly avoid heading to Dubai much these days because of the horror that is SZR, when I do I try to head back as early as possible as anything past 10pm on the weekend is just asking to be hit.

    As for stopping drink driving, I’d recommend the same idea that Jeremy Clarkson suggested to stop speeding (potentially 2 birds with 1 stone), which is a giant spike in the centre of the steering wheel … draw your own conclusions.

  4. S Mehta on October 19, 2010 4:11 pm

    If Dubai Police is truly serious about making a bigger dent in the drunk-driving stats of the Emirate, common sense is a good starting point. How about doubling or tripling (non existent) foot patrols with hand-held breathalyzers in and around the popular bars in town on weekends. All the ‘shady’ Deira hotels are hotbeds of drunk-driving activity. Hotel valets should be encouraged and rewarded for spotting and hopefully preventing obviously drunks from taking possession of their car keys. I really could go on …

  5. Andrew on October 21, 2010 9:10 am

    I’d agree with most of that, except the part about hotel valets. The moment you put money into the equation, you’re going to end up with at best time-wasting, and at worst a racket made to ensure that people are unavailable to get a cab and try to drive home themselves.

  6. Miss Anne Thropic on October 23, 2010 8:08 am

    Or hotel valets will be encouraged to get people to fill hotel rooms, whether they are drunk or not… Now there’s a way to boost occupancy rates.

  7. Miss Anne Thropic on October 23, 2010 8:11 am

    The law of averages means Indians, as they are in the majority, will most likely have the most drink-driving convictions. But the high rate amongst Emiratis, a minority of the population and supposedly good Muslims all, is where the truly tough policing needs to be done. In general, they are dangerous enough drivers when they are sober let alone after a few drinks.

  8. Getting Wasted on October 25, 2010 8:08 am

    This place is so stressful, and that is the cause of people getting wasted. Actually, I enjoy getting wasted once a week. At home though, over a barbecue. Its sooo therapeutic.


Leave a Comment