Motorists found using their mobile phones while driving should be penalised heavily, Colonel Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, Director General of the Dubai Traffic Police said on Wednesday.
Al Mazroui said that using a mobile phone while driving is a major cause of fatal accidents on the road, according to a report in Emarat Al Youm.
The Dubai Police official was speaking at the launch of a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers involved in using the mobile phone while driving. The campaign will run till February 18.
Those who are found using their mobile phone while driving are fined Dh200 and four black points. However, this does not commensurate with the magnitude of the risks posed.
Al Mazroui said that Dubai Police is seeking tighter measures for those found speaking on their phones or taking selfies while driving. He added that the Federal Traffic Council had earlier sought for the penalty to be increased to Dh1,000 and 12 black points, and impounding of the car for a month.
The Dubai Police official also stated that drivers should not use their mobile phone even when their vehicle was waiting for the signal to change at the traffic lights. That would also be counted as a violation.
He said that recently a horrific mishap occurred when a driver rammed into a heavy truck as he was not paying adequate attention to where he was going. The impact of the collision was fatal.
When the driver's body was retrieved from the smashed car, he was found holding a mobile phone in his hand, which made it clear that the driver's attention was diverted at the time of accident.
He emphasised that the risk was not limited to drivers only but also to bystanders.
He narrated an incident where a person was walking on the footpath and his mobile fell on the road. When he bent down to pick up the phone, unfortunately, he did not pay attention and check if the road was free of vehicular traffic. This careless move led to his death as he was hit by a speeding car and died on the spot.
Al Mazroui said that Dubai Police had issued fines to 49,643 drivers for using their mobile phones for talking, surfing the internet or taking selfies while driving during the past year. More than 45,000 such cases were recorded in 2014 and 35,734 in 2013.