Abu Dhabi’s ‘Happiness Patrol’ is spreading joy and vouchers to law-abiding motorists

Published October 31st, 2016 - 11:28 GMT
The picture of happiness: A Saudi woman drives an ATV (all-terrain vehicle). (AFP/File)
The picture of happiness: A Saudi woman drives an ATV (all-terrain vehicle). (AFP/File)

Law-abiding road users in Abu Dhabi can expect pleasant surprises in the form of appreciation and gift vouchers from police officers in happiness patrol cars launched by Abu Dhabi Police on Sunday.

The Happiness Patrol project has unveiled uniquely designed police vehicles that aim to spread a culture of happiness and positivity among road users in Abu Dhabi emirate.

If you are stopped by a happiness patrol car, most probably you have done something good on the road, which will earn you a 'happiness voucher' [gift voucher] of prominent shopping malls or prominent consumer companies. Even if you have violated any minor traffic rule, the happiness patrol officers will just make you pledge not to repeat it or issue a yellow card as a warning, officials said.

Uhoud Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness, who unveiled the happiness patrol vehicles at Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters, said: "We are very proud of this pioneering project as it is consistent with the national charter of happiness and positivity."

Al Roumi, along with Major General Mohammad Khalfan Al Rumaithi, Commander-in-Chief of Abu Dhabi Police, and Brigadier Ali Khalfan Al Daheri, general manager of Central Operations of Abu Dhabi Police, took a tour in a happiness patrol vehicle, marking the launch of the project.

Maj Gen Al Rumaithi said: "The happiness patrol reflects the vision and aspiration of our wise leadership to make the UAE a global hub of happiness and positivity."

The happiness patrol will monitor the behaviour of all road users — drivers, passengers in private and public transport vehicles, and pedestrians — to motivate positive behaviour, Brig Al Daheri said at a press conference after the project launch that coincides with the golden jubilee of Abu Dhabi Government.

The objective is to inspire road users to follow traffic rules and regulations, which will reduce road accidents further, he said.

The project contributes to the UAE's national happiness and positivity charter that aims to spread happiness in society.

Captain Khalid Ahmad Al Muhairi, manager of the project, told Gulf News that the project aims to give road users more happiness vouchers [in denominations of up to Dh300] rather than yellow cards. "You can take the voucher of your choice — of your nearest shopping mall, telecom service providers, etc."

He said the yellow card as a warning will be issued for 27 types of minor offences such as drivers changing lanes without using the indicator, wrong parking, not renewing driving or vehicle licence, not using headlights at night, pedestrians crossing the road at undesignated areas, etc.

"For serious offences like speeding and drunk driving, we will issue a fine but as a last resort only. Our priority is giving more vouchers," Al Mehairi said.

By Binsal Abdul Kader and Asma Samir

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