Harsher fines lead to drop in traffic offences

Authorities in the UAE are cracking down severely on reckless driving and traffic offences. The intention was flagged up on 1st July when the country's amended traffic law came into effect. An editorial in today's Gulf News said that fines for many offences were increased with the police warning that enforcement will be strict.

"Every year, hundreds of people are killed and many more severely injured because of negligent driving. The emotional and financial toll are very high, but years of awareness campaigns have not driven sense into errant motorists who continue to flout rules, leading to horrific crashes," it said.

"However, the first week of this month has shown a heartening trend. Traffic fines issued in Dubai fell sharply, by one-third, after the amended federal traffic law came into effect. Dubai Police issued 94,964 fines in the week leading to July 1st, compared to 59,777 fines issued in the first seven days of the month. This means that 35,187 fewer fines were issued."

The editorial continued, "This massive drop in fines shows that more and more motorists are abiding by the law, fearing that they will have to pay high fines if they violate the rules. This awareness is a good sign, but it also proves that motorists were negligent on the roads earlier because they did not have to pay a high price for violations.

"The authorities must continue with the strict enforcement of law. The goal is to reduce traffic fatalities from six per 100,000 people to three per 100,000. Only enforcement, high fines and punishment, such as revoking licences and impounding vehicles, will teach reckless drivers a lesson. The pressure must be kept on to make the roads safer and reduce casualties because realisation and responsible habits only dawn upon us when the consequences are severe." the Dubai -based newspaper concluded.

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