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Driving rules and penalties in the UAE

- As a driver in the UAE, you should be aware of the traffic fines and violations. - Punishments include deductions in black points, monetary fines to even car confiscation. - It’s easy to pay for penalties, and there are several ways to do so. As a driver in the UAE, one of the most sinking feelings comes from the disconcerting flash you get, as you drive past one of the iconic, futuristic looking traffic cameras. But more than that, it’s knowing that you need to pay that fine now. It’s ok – these things happen. It’s all about knowing the rules, your rights and how to go about clearing your name. License fines When it comes to getting a fine or violation, there are two types: against your car/vehicle registration and your actual license number. Generally, fines against your license are handed out where the driver is at fault, be it in an accident caused by a driver, etc. Black points Every driver will need a valid UAE driving license to own and drive a car in the country. Each year, your license comes with 24 fresh black points. The idea works like a demerit system – points are deducted per offense against your license, the number of points depending on the severity of the offense. If you lose all 24 points in a year, you risk the following A 3-month license confiscation after the first violation. A 6-month license confiscation after the second violation. And a 12-month license confiscation after the third traffic violation. After the third violation, any driver must redo and pass a driving course and test at a driving school within the same city where the violations happened. Fines and Violations To start, every offense can be fined, and the amount is based on how big or small the incident is. Below are a few categories of violations, starting with your most basic speeding fine to the more consequential. Speeding Fines We’ve all been there, driving to our favorite song and not realizing that we’re slightly over the speed limit. Fortunately, those few extra kilometers per hour won’t hurt as badly as something like 80. The roads of the UAE come with speed limits. For each speed limit, there is a 20km/h buffer before you are fined. For example, if the speed limit is 80km/h, you are allowed to drive at a maximum of 100km/h, unless otherwise stated. Major highways can range from a maximum limit of 120km/h to 140km/h, while smaller roads and residential areas sit at 60km/h to 80km/h. Here’s how it works in a nutshell: If you exceed the speed limit by less than 20km/h, you’ll be fined AED 300, with no black points deducted nor car confiscation. This can be paid using one of the convenient fine payment options, coming up later in this article. The amount you are fined depends on how much you exceed the speed limit by. However, the fine for exceeding the limit by more than 80km/h, you’re looking at a penalty of AED 3,000, with 23 of the 24 allocated black points deducted from your license and a 60-day confiscation of your car. Ouch. Parking Fines When it comes to parking, it’s hard fighting the temptation to park on the pavement, especially when there are no spaces available. In the UAE, specifically Dubai, parking is open to the public, paid for by meter, and is limited, especially in the more populated areas. And unless your work or home building has allocated or basement parking, you’ll be like most people, having to look for a space for the day. However, the laws for parking are tricky, and if they aren’t followed, can be detrimental: for a basic parking violation, this being having parked in a prohibited place, parking on a road shoulder (unless in an emergency) or parking in a loading or off-loading area unnecessarily, you’re looking at a fine of between AED 200 – 500, with potential black points. And while most of these offenses can be paid for easily, some could result in confiscation of a car or license, depending on how bad the offense is. This penalty can increase depending on where you parked (i.e., in a busy area or road, blocking a mosque or traffic, etc.) and the black points will too. To be frank, the easiest way to avoid parking fines is to know where you’re parking before-hand and find a space that is within the legal limits. Other fines The laws of the UAE work to protect its residents and visitors which is why there have been so many fines implemented. Below is a list of the most common penalties in the country: Driving without vehicle number plates: AED 3,000 with 23 black points and car confiscation. Driving under the influence of alcohol: 23 black points, as well as a decision at the discretion of the court (which could lead to jail time). Blocking traffic: AED 1,000. Jumping a red light: AED 1,000 with 23 black points and 30-day car confiscation. Driving with the distraction of a mobile phone: AED 800 with four black points.

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