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Sun 20 Jun 2010 06:46 AM

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Dubai police chief tells of 'deep anger' over stunt driving

EXCLUSIVE: Lt Gen Tamim says culprits endangered lives in 'such a reckless way'.

Dubai police chief tells of 'deep anger' over stunt driving

Dubai’s police chief has slammed the antics of the Emirati motorists caught on camera ‘stunt’ driving on Sheikh Zayed Road, and spoken of his anger at their behaviour.

“As a police officer I was deeply angered; that is why we elevated the gravity of that particular incident as an offence to a criminal one,” Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim told Arabian Business in an interview.

“It is a very dangerous thing to do on the roads, endangering lives in such a reckless way.”

The controversy erupted in May when viewers from around the world watched as two large vehicles – a Nissan Patrol and a Toyota pickup truck – executed a series of tricks including driving on two wheels and performing do-nut manoeuvres, where a car circles around with smoke coming from all four tyres.

The video, which was posted on internet site YouTube and reported on ArabianBusiness.com, sparked a wave of criticism from driving experts as well as regular users of the 12-lane highway.

Within a week of the incident hitting news headlines, police located the two vehicles at the centre of the controversy and arrested two men, UAE nationals aged in their 20s. The suspects are thought to be facing up to three years in prison and fines if convicted.

On Friday. the Police Leaders Council headed by Tamim said the UAE had seen a decline of 21 percent in road deaths and a 32 percent drop in traffic accidents during the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same time last year.

This translated to a rate of 6.5 road deaths per 100,000 of the population.

Injuries from accidents had also dropped by 37 percent in the first quarter of 2010.

Read the full interview in Arabian Business magazine on Sunday June 27.

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jinxuae 9 years ago

I'm wandering if jail is the right way: how about delivering a sentance that included a good number of hours that had to be spent out with Emergency Rescue crews responding to critical traffic incidents - to see first hand what effect the mixture of recklessness, speed, lack of sfatey belts etc can be: let them get 'dirty hands' as part of their learning process; then a few more hours working on the rehabilitation side of the industry - trying to restore some of these broken people to some sort of normality - psycologically and physically. Then, voluntarily, they can spend some time with younger students in educational establishments discussing their experiences, explaining their (hopefully) enlightned new position on it all. I'd submit that this would drive a far stronger message within their community than a jail sentance - the only way a difference is going to be driven within the UAE is thru education and messaging.

MM 9 years ago

"...a good number of hours that had to be spent out with Emergency Rescue crews responding to critical traffic incidents - to see first hand what effect the mixture of recklessness..." – Jinxuae Jinxuae, I like your idea, I think you should send that as a suggestion to Dubai Police and RTA. It would be great if AB also forwards the same to concerned authorities at the Police. Definitely would make much affect and impact in their lives than jail sentence eating rotten eggs. Good thinking.

SK 9 years ago

I would strongly agree with the methods suggest by jinxuae. This will be a more effective way of bring about a reform in the driving ethics of such reckless drivers as opposed to a jail sentence. AB should undertake a campaign on behalf of us residents who think similarly and forward it to the Dubai Police. Any others out there who can get this message thru to Dubai Police feel free to do so.

N. Siotto 9 years ago

Jinxuae, this is an excellent idea and should be suggested to the Dubai Police. In Abu Dhabi some repeating offenders were sent to wipe streets, but I agree more to your suggestion as this needs some visual impacts which would give faster results. Good idea, thumb up!

scorp2x 9 years ago

All in all probably not a bad idea but also to include a shorter jail term (you have to have SOME real punishment and deterrent for others at least) and intensive driver training as well. As far as I can see, most of the people who drive on the roads have no idea at all about driving other than using the pedals and steering wheel and that certainly ISN'T driving! I hope that the fact that the fact that the Lieutenant General has spoken so strongly about this is a lesson for those foolish people who wrote to this column before stating that they can do what they like because they are from here!!!

Redders 9 years ago

I recall some 2+ years ago a headline story in the local papers that after lengthy research, the Chief of Police (Traffic?) concluded that the bad driving on the Dubai roads was down to driver arrogance. The question then for the police is how do they deal with it. Presumably driving schools don't 'miss anything out' and these pest drivers (all forms) know exactly what they are doing. I see evidence every day of arrogance around my accommodation where several cars park, continually get tickets yet continually park there! The deterant of a parking ticket is clearly not a deterant at all. Do they get let off their fines? Or do they not care? C'mon Mr Police authority - MAKE them care, cuz you won't change their attitude and disrespect for others by increasing speed cameras or placing another ticket on the windscreen.

Edward 9 years ago

I have great respect for the leadership of General Dahi Khalfan Tamim. Over the years his leadership has brought us many improvements in traffic enforcement while remaining fair for all layers of the population. Like no other nation, Dubai and other Emirates have a unique challenge which a high influx of different cultures and driving styles all in one place. Improving driving standards can only be done by social education and consitent traffic enforcement. I believe the current strategy is working. But there is a much greater responsibility needed from the public here, and there has to be much more social control under the population. It’s incredible how people drive here sometimes. These people behave on the bottom of social hierarchy, you can call them almost outcast of society. So, if the family, friends, employers and general public will make these people feel they are watched and their behavior not accepted, it will change for the good.

Sam 9 years ago

@Redders, This foundation has proposed a method in tacking arrogance and attitude of drivers. - http://www.bit.ly/SurayaFoundation website: http://www.surayafoundation.com

Barbara 9 years ago

I am sorry to say that I have seen these stunts and comments for many years with nothing changed. I lived in Dubai from 1996 to 2001 and in Abu Dhabi from 2007 to 2010. Drivers did the same thing then as they do now and the comments are the same. There was an attempt to punish bad drivers with community service and some pictures in the paper but nothing after that. This situation is due to people giving their children superfast cars because everyone else has one; there is no education about speeding and doing these stupid things. Why do people insist on breaking the laws of their own country? They feel they can get away with it. Some countries charge fees on a sliding scale, the more money you have, the more you pay. Make the punishment hurt, financially. Make everyone who breaks the law, pay for it. Teach parents that they do NOT have to give the children everything they want and to not worry about what their friends will think as they may keep their children alive. and the EASIEST way to stop these road menaces? MORE TRAFFIC POLICE! How hard is it to put more police on the road? Have patrols looling for these speeders and stunt drivers and empower them to impound cars on the spot and hand out fees. Do not let the drivers beg off the fees as I have seen done at the traffic department. Make the punishment stick, no one gets away with it. But, the best is to have more police cars on the road to intercept these drivers. Cameras only take pictures. A car speeding past the camera is not stopped from killing someone down the road. Enforce the existing laws and you will stop these stunts, bad driving and deaths. Police on partol must stop cars, look for these things. There used to be regular races on Sheikh Zayed road at 1am and no police to stop it. I regularly used to see police cars on the way from Abu Dhabi to Dubai which did nothing when cars sped by recklessly. WHY? Why allow them to kill not only themselves but innocent drivers and families? Used to break my heart to read these stories of young Emirati boys dying and worse than that, boys killing people standing on the side of the road or trying to cross. COurtesy needs to be taught. That is, letting pedestrians have the right of way in indicated areas. I used to stop at stop signs and crossroads to let pedestrians pass but stopped doing that when I was routinely honked at or worse, almost rear ended by other drivers who had no intention of stopping. I was rear ended when I stopped at at stop sign and the other driver was angry at ME for stopping! I wish the police would come to observe a four way or two way intersection. Do cars stop in order and then proceed across the intersection? NO, its a free for all. No one waits their turn, they all just go. There are major problems on the streets and roads of UAE. Get help, call in some experts and understand its going to take years to change attitudes as it goes way past just stunts and speeding, its a cultural attitude toward doing what you want to do and getting away with it. By the way, what was the result of the campaign for use of child car seats? Again, a campaign was put into place, an artlcle in the newspaper and then....nothing. Are people being ticketed for endangering the lives of their children? Haven't seen anything lately. Reallly, folks, if you don't change this attitude toward laws and enforcement of laws and tourists keep dying, word will get out. Maybe people will go somewhere that they feel safer.

GMR 9 years ago

General Dahi Khalfan Tamime is one of the most respected government official in Dubai, I admire him for his openess and he speaks truth out right. |In the past 2 decades he has brought many changes in Dubai esp in the law and order and traffic issues. I hope his interference will stop all these type of stun driviing on the public roads of the Emirate. If these drivers so crazy there should be allowed to do so in a specific area created like the many cities we already have in Dubai and call it "Crazy Stun Driving City" this can be close to the many cities we have on Emirates Road.