Drunk drivers face court and Dh20,000 in fines

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Drunk drivers face court and Dh20,000 in fines By Alia Al Theeb and Rayeesa Absal, Staff Reporters GULF NEWS Published: March 02, 2008

Dubai/Abu Dhabi: Starting on Saturday, police across the UAE began implementing a federal traffic law which introduces harsher penalties for traffic violations.

Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Interior, said the new law and the black point system, which were recently endorsed by the UAE’s leadership, aim to curb accidents resulting from indisciplined driving and speeding.

Brigadier Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Director of Dubai Traffic Department, told Gulf News that the new law protects road users from motorists who violate rules and endanger lives of others.

He said the punishment for drunk driving stands revised at a Dh20,000 fine and possible jail term.

“Updating laws is normal and is also necessary so as to keep pace with the new developments in all domains for the sake of the nation’s higher interest,” Shaikh Saif was quoted as saying by WAM.

As per the new law, the black point system for traffic offences has been implemented across all the emirates aiming to cut down the number of deaths due to traffic accidents.

Last year alone, 1,056 people lost their lives in road accidents in the UAE.

As the law became effective all over the country, Dubai Police’s Traffic Department on Saturday also started implementing it in the emirate.

Dubai Police’s Traffic Department has intensified patrols and implemented strict penalties.

Brigadier Al Zafeinsaid motorists need special traffic education and called on motorists and family members who have more than one car or drivers to inform the drivers of the new law.

Fines can now be issued on the spot and in absentia.

Brigadier Al Zafein said the traffic department will send letters to the owners of offending vehicles, who will be given a month’s time to reveal the name of the person who was driving the vehicle when the offence was caused. If the owner fails to do so, the vehicle will be confiscated.

Motorists can object to the fines at the traffic department and an investigation will be launched.

The maximum number of black points a motorist can incur in a year is 24 at which point the licence is suspended. Once a person collects 24 black points, the licence will be suspended for three months.

If a motorist collects 24 points for the second time, the licence will be suspended for six months.

If it happens a third time, the licence will be taken away for a year and will not be returned until the driver passes a training course from an institute authorised by the traffic department.

The black points a person incurs will be cancelled the following year on the same date.

Senior Interior Ministry officials said if a motorist has collected many black points and feels that his licence could soon be taken away if he accumulates 24 points, then he can take a training course at an authorised driving institute. Police will then remove eight points. The option can be utilised only once a year.

Besides the black point system, another major change is that the minimum fine for serious traffic offences has been fixed at Dh20,000. Besides the fine, the penalty may or may not include a jail term.

Lieutenant Colonel Saif Al Mazroui, acting deputy director of Dubai Police Traffic Department, said the department organised lectures for traffic policemen on the new law.

On road: Charges hiked

Salah Bu Faroosha, Traffic Public Prosecutor, said the traffic public prosecution has changed the traffic charges according to the new federal law that came into effect on Saturday.

Bu Faroosha said the new punishment will be implemented for the offences that have been committed since it came into effect yesterday, while they will not be implemented on offences and accidents that took place before the changes came into effect.

He said the implication of the hard shoulder changed according to the new law, and it cannot be used on internal roads or highways, except in emergencies. Bu Faroosha said driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs now draws stricter punishment.

He said any motorist who drives under the influence of drugs, even with a doctor’s prescription, will be prosecuted in case of causing a road accident or damages to others.

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