New traffic rules to come into effect on Saturday, July 1

Police authorities across the UAE are all set to enforce the changes in the federal traffic law, which come into effect on Saturday. More than 90 patrols will be deployed across five of Sharjah's most dangerous roads in the first few weeks following the implementation of the new rules to ensure compliance, Khaleej Times reported on Thursday.

The police have been carrying out awareness campaigns since April to educate residents about the amended traffic laws.

On Saturday, 1st of July, special police patrols will be deployed in Dubai and Sharjah to ensure residents are abiding by the new rules. The patrols will penalise motorists who don't comply with the new rules.

Back in March, H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, had issued a ministerial decision, amending the federal traffic law.

The law includes 17 articles which focus on re-examining traffic violations in terms of black points and raising the number of points for some of the serious offences. The MoI issued the decision in a bid to make the UAE one of the safest countries in the world.

Many of the new rules relate to child safety in cars, window tinting, speeding, crowding around accident sites, failure to stop at a red signal, jaywalking and failure to wear seatbelts.

However, the penalties for some violations have been increased due to the sheer number of offences recorded in the past.

Smart radars and cameras will monitor many of the new violations. Additional footfall on the ground from the traffic police departments will play a pivotal role in making the UAE roads safer.

Referring to the time period between the announcement of the new traffic rules and its implementation, Major-General Mohammed Saif Al Zafeen, Assistant Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police and Chairman of the Federal Traffic Council, said three months were enough to educate the public about the new rules. He stressed that the awareness campaigns will continue even after the rules are implemented.

Brigadier-General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of the Sharjah Police, said the police are "well-prepared to enforce the rules from July 1".

"Inspection campaigns will commence on July 1 to ensure that motorists are abiding by the new rules. More than 90 patrols will be deployed across the emirate - especially on roads that witness a large number of accidents," he said.

During their campaigns, the police distributed awareness publications, conducted lectures and sent messages to the public through social media channels about the amended articles of the federal law.

Lauding the new rules, Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE, told Khaleej Times: "This is one of the most wonderful news we have had in a long time with regards to improving road safety in the UAE."

The amended law is expected to reduce traffic deaths from 6.1 deaths per 100,000 people to 3. The number of road fatalities last year reached an alarming 725 - up from 675 in 2015.

With the new traffic rules coming into effect on Saturday, the Ras Al Khaimah Police have urged motorists to abide by them for their own safety.

"The new rules are meant to curb traffic violations and casualties and enhance road safety across the country," said Brigadier Dr Mohammed Saeed Al Humaidi, Director-General of the central operations room, RAK Police.

To increase residents' awareness about the new rules, the police have launched a special campaign called 'Let's share responsibility', which targets all segments of the society.

"The initiative, which is being carried out in collaboration with five entities here, will help boost traffic awareness. It will help us have an accident-free society," said Brig Dr Al Humaidi.

He said brochures with the new rules have been distributed among motorists. "More lectures will be delivered at various institutions to reach more people. These will focus on the most common reasons for traffic accidents and the best way to steer away from them."

As part of the campaign, all reception and customer service staff will wear scarves with the logo of the scheme 'Let's share reasonability' on them, he explained.

"Up to 300 scarves with logos have been distributed to the customer care staff of the five participating government entities," he said. "The move will help remind the public about the new traffic amendments."

The Umm Al Quwain police have distributed 2,000 booklets about the about the new traffic rules.

Col Saeed Obaid bin Aran, Director of Traffic and Patrols Department of the UAQ Police, urged all drivers to adhere to the laws. "The new traffic amendments are meant to enhance road safety and reduce traffic accidents and casualties to the minimum level possible," he said.

"We have organised four workshops to train traffic police inspectors about the new regulations," he told Khaleej Times. "The amendments are aimed to curb traffic accidents and casualties."

Field studies show that in 80 per cent of traffic accidents, the motorists are to blame. About 15 per cent are caused due to glitches in vehicles and the rest due to bad roads.

The traffic fines and rules that will come into effect from Saturday are in the best "interests of road users", the Abu Dhabi Police have said.

Brigadier-General Ali Khalfan Al Dhaheri, Director of Central Operations, Abu Dhabi Police, called on motorists to adhere to the new rules and regulations.

He said the implementation of these measures will motivate drivers to abide by the laws and enhance the efforts by the Abu Dhabi Police to make roads safer.

Brigadier Al Dhaheri said the police will also provide an opportunity for drivers to correct their violations through an initiative that cancels registered traffic violations. The leeway does not cover violations related reckless driving, running red lights, exceeding speed limits, causing danger to the lives of the public and driving under the influence of alcohol.