We all know how dangerous it is, and it looks like the rules for driving while using your phone are about to get harsher…
Cars drifting into other lanes, people merging without thinking to look – we’ve all seen it. Then, when you overtake you can see that the driver in question is clearly yapping away on their phone.
Well, hopefully that’s soon to be a thing of the past.
Currently the penalty for motorists who are caught driving while on the phone is Dhs200 and four black points on their license. However, the Federal Traffic Council are seeking to raise the penalty to a Dhs1,000 fine and 12 black points, as well as an impounding of the car for up to a month.
The proposition of a harsher penalty was brought to light as part of a three-week Dubai Police campaign aimed at highlighting the dangers of using your phone on the road. The campaign started yesterday and runs until February 18 (so we’re likely to hear more developments over the next few weeks).
The stricter rules are very welcome, considering driving on the phone has been proven to be even more dangerous than driving under the influence (this was shown by the Mythbusters duo back in 2006).
Worryingly, the results of a survey by Zarca Interactive back in 2012 discovered that nearly 60 per cent of drivers in the UAE use their phone regularly while driving.
The Dubai Police issued over 49,000 fines to drivers in 2015 for using their phones on the road, said Colonel Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, Director General of the Dubai Traffic Police on Wednesday. This number is up from 45,000 in 2014, and 35,000 in 2013.
The harsher sentences are not yet in effect, and The Federal Traffic Council are yet to confirm when the new penalty is going to be introduced.
Aside from using your phone while driving and driving under the influence, their are numerous other offenses that will give Dubai Police permission to seize your car.
A Decree introduced last year by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, introduced a number of new rules pertaining to car impounding, and the different ways in which a vehicle can be impounded:
– If a vehicle has fines of over Dhs6,000 connected to it.
– If a vehicle is being driven by someone whose license has been expired for three months or more (without an “acceptable excuse”).
– If a vehicle participates in races on the road without permission.
– If a vehicle is being driven recklessly or posing a danger to others, or tries to escape from the police.
– Impounded vehicles can be auctioned off if a period of more than three months elapses without its owner taking the necessary steps to reclaim it.
Photos: Getty & Google Street View.