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Sun 16 Feb 2014 06:36 PM

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Plan to lower legal driving age in UAE wins backing

Federal Traffic Council reportedly backs proposal to allow 17-year-olds to apply for licence

Plan to lower legal driving age in UAE wins backing
(Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

The UAE has approved a plan to reduce the legal driving age to 17, local media reported on Sunday, citing comments from Dubai's head of traffic police.

The Federal Traffic Council has reportedly backed the proposal which will now go to the Ministry of Interior for approval.

The current legal age limit is 18 in the UAE.

Reports quoted Maj Gen Mohammed Saif Al Zafeen, the head of Dubai's traffic police as saying that the move would reduce the number of youngsters driving without a licence and without parental approval.

He said the decision would benefit families that rely on younger members to run daily errands.

Al Zafeen was quoted as saying the legal limit should match that of motorcycle licences which are granted to 17-year-olds.

In November, a senior official of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the UAE has the potential to become one of the best countries in the world for road safety.

Dr Etienne Krug, director of WHO's Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability, lauded the country's "beautiful and good quality roads" but added that it must tackle issues including speeding and failure to wear seatbelts.

In Dubai, the Road and Transport Authority (RTA) is cracking down on companies whose drivers have poor safety records via a series of safety campaigns.

The agency has identified 268 companies that have a high rate of traffic violations. The RTA will be stepping up its programme of on-site inspections, focusing especially on worn tyres, defective lights, and missing or unclear numberplates.

In Abu Dhabi, police are taking to the air in a bid to catch reckless motorists. The police force's air wing is conducting patrols to watch motorists and other traffic-rule violators.

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Alden Navon 6 years ago

When will the proposal be approved by the Ministry of Interior?

Thanks...

Sam 6 years ago

What happened to tackling problems related to road safety? Limiting the number of drivers on the streets? This is very contradictory..

Ulevpri 6 years ago

Now I am confused, wasn't there just the message from the Director General of DM published, that we have to do something against too many cars on the road? On one hand DM wants to restrict the ownership of cars to wealthy people, to reduce the traffic on the roads and on the other hand we are giving driver licenses to younger people now to make sure .... what? That we have more cars on the road? In Germany we call this "the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing"...

tam sam 6 years ago

"decision would benefit families that rely on younger members to run daily errands" at a speed of 200 km/h

Jono 6 years ago

No reason why its a bad idea however it would be good to limit the power of the cars that new drivers can drive. Sure this will be a problem as seeing a 17 year old behind the wheel of a fast powerful car will lead to accidents but the social pressures will push them to get the biggest most powerful vehicles they can. Also the reduction in heavy tinting and learner plates would be good but again doubtful they would be implemented.
Lets see what happens and hope accurate stats are published identifying ages

veronica chapman 6 years ago

Ivery absolutely agree that children should be able to hold a u.a.e. driving license. My daughter passed her driving test in the U>K>at age 17, and know all the knowledge of her car e.g. she was not allowed out on her own before learning to change a tyre, and one of the most dangerous factors in the emirate is high powered performance cares e.g. the engine....so make it the law up un til the age of 18 no bigger than a l.6 engine, remember a porche, Ferrari, have very high engine power, and can be alongside very dangerous to a young driver.....children no matter what do not realize the danger, yesterday I saw an Arabic lady sat in the front of a four wheel drive with her new baby in her arms, in the u.k. a mother cannot be discharged without a car seat in the back......good luck to all the 17 year olds take care on the roads, belt up and buckle up.........

veronica chapman 6 years ago

Ivery absolutely agree that children should be able to hold a u.a.e. driving license. My daughter passed her driving test in the U>K>at age 17, and know all the knowledge of her car e.g. she was not allowed out on her own before learning to change a tyre, and one of the most dangerous factors in the emirate is high powered performance cares e.g. the engine....so make it the law up un til the age of 18 no bigger than a l.6 engine, remember a porche, Ferrari, have very high engine power, and can be alongside very dangerous to a young driver.....children no matter what do not realize the danger, yesterday I saw an Arabic lady sat in the front of a four wheel drive with her new baby in her arms, in the u.k. a mother cannot be discharged without a car seat in the back......good luck to all the 17 year olds take care on the roads, belt up and buckle up.........

Louie Tedesco 6 years ago

As guests we must agree with the wishes of our host country. If youths are often driving without a license then clearly the age limit to obtain a driving permit must be lowered. Statistical analysis will also show that youth aged 14-16 are involved in even fewer accidents than older age groups. Accordingly, younger drivers may also be issued permits as long as they can pass stringent driving exams which should include their displayed ability to reach the gas and brake pedals. And show how to operate the cruise control, a device that is often in the news which seems to baffle even the most seasoned older drivers. Given that the youth of today have been well trained on video games and electronic gadgets, their lightning-fast agility and cat-like reflexes will enable them to react instantly to any threat they may encounter, or cause, on public roads.

tony 6 years ago

Ulevpri, well they want to reduce the number of expat driven cars (you know the ones who can't afford it), but increase the number of cars driven by kids. Makes sense to me, after all the majority of kids wanting to drive will be Emiratis. Let me quote my Emirati brothers: "If you don't like it, leave and go home".

Jason 6 years ago

It was less than a week ago that they were trying to figure out ways to reduce the number of cars on the road, through things like increased vehicle registration costs and minimum salaries. The aim of that was to reduce congestion and accidents. Now they want to release more, less experienced drivers onto the roads...Really?