Last year, distracted driving resulted in 59 drivers losing their lives in the UAE, according to the Khaleej Times. In addition to these fatalities, a further 495 people were injured due to distracted driving. When you’re driving in a new country, it’s especially important that you’re focused all the time, and due to these shocking statistics, traffic officials have decided to launch a new campaign aimed at keeping drivers’ eyes on the road at all time.
What is distracted driving?
In the UAE, it is against the law to drive while doing anything additional that could distract you. This includes using your phone to text, make a call, or take photos. Other distractions include eating, drinking, applying cosmetics, and reading. As such, the ‘Avoid Distraction While Driving’ campaign, which will run for three months, aims to cut this driver behaviour from the UAE’s roads.
Of course, the biggest benefit to giving the road your full attention is that you’ll keep yourself and other road users safe. However, Dubai is offering additional incentives for drivers who have registered their vehicle in Dubai and who regularly reside in the city on an almost permanent basis.
This is great news if you’re a non-resident Indian as, so long as you haven’t committed a traffic offense from February 6 onwards, you’ll be able to get a discount on the traffic fines you’ve previously accumulated.
What’s more, by following the law and avoiding distractions, you can be sure that you’re safeguarded on the road at all times. Some driver behaviour can result in your insurance being invalidated, but by remaining responsible on the road, you’ll be meeting all the requirements of their insurance policy.
The risks of driving while distracted in the UAE
In 2018, 88,619 fines were handed out to drivers who were using their phones behind the wheel. Driving while distracted typically warrants a fine of Dh800, as well as four black points on your license. When your black points total reaches 24, your license will be suspended for 12 months.
As a result, you’ll be unable to travel around the UAE freely, and will have to rely on public transport. What’s more, you may have difficulties finding a job, as many UAE employers seek out candidates with a valid license, regardless of whether they’re a native or not.
Distracted driving is a big problem in the UAE. But by following the laws of the emirate when you move here, you can be sure that you’re driving safely, and help to reduce the UAE’s high number of distracted driving cases.