I have referred to the terrible driving in Dubai many times before. There are countless stupid drivers on the road – mostly from the Indian sub-continent who just weave in and out of traffic as if it were Mumbai . . . . Abu Dhabi drivers also leave a great deal to be desired and frankly, just drive too fast.
Regularly on the front covers of the newspapers out here are photographs of cars smashed out of all recognition with the title – Speed Kills. I quite agree.
In the UK, you get points for speeding or doing anything wrong on the roads – the same is true of Dubai. You are “allowed” 24 black points in a year before you lose your licence. Black points can be awarded for anything – from driving without licence plates (24 points) to opening the left door or a taxi (traffic side) which gets you 3 points.
You also get informed of any traffic violations via email or text. As Tim is the registered owner of our cars, he is the one who gets the notifications.
I was horrified the other day when Tim received a text and email to say that my car had been fined for parking with wheels up on the pavement. I had incurred a fine, but it was a “special” kind of fine because I had to present myself to the fines department and was not able to pay online. We were informed that if I did not “present” myself, when the car’s registration was due for renewal, my car would be confiscated for a month! (Yes, I swear this is true.)
I bumbled on down to the fines department with my heart hammering away to find out the detail of what I had “done”. My crime was to park my car with two wheels up on the pavement. My defence is that my car is so wide, I believed I was being considerate in letting cars still pass me. So very naive.
Not only did I have to pay a fine (£40), I received a 10Dhs fine (£2) called a Knowledge Fee, which I can only assume is that now know I must never be considerate to other drivers again. I, to my horror, received TWO BLACK POINTS!! Now, in theory, I have absolutely no problem with being punished for my crime – black points included – but I then referred back to the black points list. It appears that I could be driving up to 50km/h over the speed limit with bald tyres and not receive black points. In a country where the police admit that speeding is a major problem – this is utterly crazy and disproportionate.
So, I handed over my licence – and my money – and in return I was handed a sheet of paper to sign (one in Arabic and one in English) which basically stated that I was terribly sorry for my crime, I did know better, I respected the laws of Dubai and would not do it again . . . . . As I presented myself, my car will not be impounded upon re-registration.
Tim and I drove away from the fines building and got onto the motorway – only to be stunned to find a motorist, who had taken the wrong turning, reversing down the motorway as he had missed his turning (sadly, something you see quite a lot here). A police car happened to be behind me so I was quite interested to see what they would do – guess what – the police car just drove on by . . . . .