The UAE government this week introduced new amendments to federal traffic laws, in a bid to make the country's roads safer.
According to these amendments, passengers will be fined for not wearing seat belts, while children up to four years of age must sit in special child seats.
Children aged 10 and above can now sit on the front seat, but they must be at least 145 cm tall.
Here are the new rules:
- Children up to 4 years of age must be seated in special child seats
- Children aged 10 and above can sit in the front seat, but they must be at least 145 cm tall. Earlier, children under 10 years old were not allowed to sit in the front seat of a vehicle and the offense would draw a fine of Dh400 along with 4 black points.
- Illegally carrying/transporting passengers now draws a fine of Dh3,000 (up from Dh200), 24 black points instead of 4 black points, and the vehicle will be impounded for one-month instead of seven days.
- Along with drivers, now even passengers will face fines for failing to wear seat belts.
- Dh3,000 fine and 90-day impoundment for riding a tricycle or quad bikes on public roads.
- A minimum of Dh50 and maximum Dh3,000 fine for failing to collect vehicle after the end of the impoundment period.
- Black points shall only be cancelled 12 months after payment of fine. Black points are calculated from the date of payment of violation and recorded to the licence.
Lauding the government's 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, especially on the back of the news that in 2016 UAE traffic fatalities increased to 725, up from 675 in 2015."
"The introduction and stringent enforcement of the holistic seat belt law has long been lobbied for in the UAE and it is the single most important ingredient to lower the number of fatalities on our roads," he added. Edelmann noted that accidents happen all over the world, even in the most advanced countries.
"But the single most important device to save our lives and protect us from injuries in car accidents are seat belts. They can save lives from 45-60%, depending on the kind of impact (frontal, side, rear, etc.) and the type of passenger (children, adults)," he said.
"We applaud the UAE government for this step. It is the lowest hanging fruit to achieve the ambitious targets of the 'UAE vision 2021' to lower the road traffic fatalities from about 6/100,000 inhabitants to 3," Edelmann underlined.
"However, the introduction of a rule is only the first step. Now, the enforcement has to be stringent and holistic. In parallel, strong educational initiatives from all concerned stakeholders must accompany this wonderful development: the media is invited to pick up on this new decree on an ongoing basis, governmental entities are invited to run educational campaigns, the education sector has to cascade the content of the decree to all their audiences (teachers, parents, students of all ages), and corporations should dedicate initiatives towards their staff and families and towards their customers," he concluded.
By Ahmad Shaaban
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