By Jo Anne Bladd
Emirate’s police chief says move will help encourage safer driving
Drivers in Dubai will be given a 30 percent discount on traffic fines for the next three months, Dubai’s chief of police was reported as saying on Wednesday.
The electronic system used by the emirate’s traffic police has been amended to reflect the reduction, which will come into play on the first Sunday after Eid, reported Arabic daily Emarat Al Youm.
The reduction will cover all traffic violations and will encourage motorists to drive more carefully, Dubai’s chief of police Dahi Khalfan Tamim was quoted as saying.
Dubai motorists notched up AED324m in fines in the first quarter for motoring offences committed around the UAE, compared with AED252m in the same period last year, the Roads and Transport Authority said earlier this month.
The most common offences among drivers included exceeding the speed limit by up to 40kph, and disturbing traffic flow, the RTA said.
Dubai Police said in June that its traffic force aimed to cut fatalities on the roads from 70 per 100,000 people, to zero deaths within the next nine years.
Speeding is responsible for 80 percent of road accidents in Dubai, government data shows.
Do you know what encouraged me to slow down and not speed? By yearly total one year reached over 3,000 Dirhams. I used to joke with my friends that my speeding "budget" was 2,000 Dirhams a year but finally I wised up and slowed down! The last 2 years I have not had 1 speeding ticket. Instead of decreasing the fines by 30% I say INCREASE the fines by 30%!
Quite obviously, reducing the fines will not encourage people to drive more carefully - quite the reverse.
However, from a revenue raising angle, it makes perfect sense. Elasticity of demand is something every business owner knows about... reduce the price of an item and you'll sell more - hopefully enough to make more money.
I feel it is a mistake for Dubai, because the most negative thing virtually every visitor from developed countries has to say about Dubai is about driver behaviour.
I suspect that while direct revenue will improve, indirect revenue from tourism and expatriates will be hit. Safety really is any tourist's number one priority, and Dubai is statistically really rather dangerous, almost entirely due to the road safety issues.
This has to be addressed if Dubai hopes to improve its attractiveness to tourists.