In a land of super fancy cars and fast tracks, speeding fines are aplenty. In fact, almost every motorist in Dubai is guilty of accelerating over the marked speed limit at least one time or another.
While there are those who’d swear never to ignore those sleek speeding cameras, and work their speed around them, there are still those who are habitual speedsters. They are, if anything, unable to step on the brakes and aren’t overtly upset over clocking a hefty penalty, some amounting to over a month of their own pay cheque.
Surprisingly, many aren’t even concerned about the dent it will create to their bank accounts. “No matter what I do I can’t drive slow, so this is the price I pay for living on the fast lane,” boasts Nishant (name changed), an Indian entrepreneur who took to the roads in his brand new, swanky SUV barely nine months ago.
Since his debut, he has clocked Dh27,000 in speeding fines. “It was Dh33,000 or something, but recently when I checked it was reduced. I think I got a discount,” he claims unabashedly.
And, like Nishant, there are many who are unable to slow down. “I’ve been living here for over 6 years, and every year, without fail, I have got fined for speeding,” confesses Ritesh (name changed on request).
His reason being he is always late for his official meetings, and to keep time he inevitably ends up speeding. “I guess it is the price you pay for keeping time.”
Ritesh’s record stands at around Dh16,000, (one year) which is almost as much as what he earns in a month.
It’s interesting that Nishant and Ritesh aren’t alone in their speeding escapades. Some, smaller offenders, are often caught off-guard by mobile speeding cameras. “I always try to drive within the speed limit, but get unlucky with new speeding cameras,” claims Patrick.
He’s a veteran at speeding but smart enough to avoid the fines, at least most of the time. “I’ve got a mental map of most speeding cameras in Dubai. So, even if I am off-limits, I will step on the brakes the minute I know I’m approaching a speeding camera. And it works all the time,” he elaborates.
It’s when he there’s new camera that he gets caught. “When the camera flashes I get a sinking feeling, and it’s not good.”
Many motorists, who prefer to adhere to road rules, are united in their need for more stringent punishment for speedsters in Dubai.
“Most guys don’t mind shelling out that kind of money. They prefer to pay up than slow down. The only way they will learn is if their car is confiscated for a few weeks and their license is suspended,” insists KP Menon, who has lived in the emirate for over a decade.
Speed is a concern for most UAE motorists as the region registers a high number of road fatalities. “The only way to keep the roads safe is to ensure everyone is adhering to the road rules,” he adds.
Dubai Traffic Police does contact motorists when the total amount of fines for their offences tops Dh10,000. They send out a text message and the offender can arrange to pay the fines, either in instalments or in full.
Motorists may incur a maximum of 24 black points during a year, following which they may lose their license for 3 months…a second such offence would result in a 6 month confistication.