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Tue 2 Aug 2011 12:44 PM

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Plan to slash traffic fines ‘bad for road safety’

RTA official says cutting fines will encourage speeding, may cause more accidents

Plan to slash traffic fines ‘bad for road safety’
The UAE has one of the highest rates of road deaths in the world

A scheme by Dubai Police to slash the cost of traffic fines
for drivers with existing penalties is unlikely to help deter motorists from speeding
or driving dangerously in the future, a senior Roads and Transport Agency
official said.

Dubai Police said
Sunday they would offer a discount to drivers with existing fines for a limited
period, on the condition that the penalties were settled in full. The move
follows a decision by Abu Dhabi to halve the cost of existing traffic fines for
offenders.

“My argument would be, if you’re worried about paying fines,
don’t speed,” said Ahmed Bahrozyan, CEO for licensing at the RTA. “The way
[they are] looking at it is that people are being burdened a lot with fines
and, in this tough climate, they are not able to pay them.”

Full details of the
fine reduction were not available from Dubai Police on Monday.

Bahrozyan said more money should be invested into public
awareness campaigns aimed at highlighting the dangers of driving dangerously,
Bahrozyan said.

“I think continued awareness campaigns and more targeted
campaigns on the disadvantages of speeding would prove effective - as they have
in the past,” he said.

Speeding is responsible for 80 percent of road accidents in
Dubai, government data shows.

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 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.

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