Traffic Violations and Fines You Should be Aware of in the UAE
Dubai is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with a population of 3.3 million. The city has many public transport links and taxis, but if you want to experience Dubai at its full potential, it’s worth renting or buying a car. It is possible to live and work in Dubai without a vehicle, but this only really works if you live close to metro links, or have the budget to spend a significant sum on taxis. Many people say that Dubai was built for driving, with its wide open highways, fantastic road network and scenic views, but it’s important to be aware of the traffic laws.
It’s essential to stay safe on the road wherever you are and Dubai and the UAE have some specific traffic violations and fines that you may not be aware of. Noone wants to pay a fine (especially if it could have been avoided), so see below for our handy guide to traffic violations and fines in the UAE.
The Black Points System
‘Black points’ are points assigned to a driver’s licence if they’re found in violation of certain Dubai traffic rules. The black points system was introduced by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority with the aim to encourage safer driving practices.
If a driver receives a total of 24 black points or more, they can face their licence being revoked and a ban on driving any kind of vehicle for a year. Black points are also accompanied by a fine; the amount will depend on the nature and severity of the offence.
The amount of black points you receive will also depend on the severity of the offence. For example, drivers can receive 23 black points for driving without number plates, or six black points for blocking traffic.
Traffic violations and fines
Dubai law issues penalties (black points) and fines for a range of traffic violations. While some might be obvious (like speeding), some violations are less immediately apparent. Any driver in Dubai will want to avoid fines and black points on their licence wherever possible, so see below to find out more about common violations you should be aware of.
If you throw litter out of your car window while driving, you can be fined AED 1,000 and receive six black points on your licence. Noones wants to see rubbish piling up on the roads, so keep all litter inside your vehicle until you can dispose of it properly. If you’re worried about messing up your vehicle’s interior, keep a plastic bag to hand to dispose of all rubbish.
Parking in a non-assigned range
It can be difficult to find a parking spot in Dubai, especially in popular, crowded areas. However, you must park in an assigned space; you cannot simply park in any vacant area. Failure to do so can result in a AED 200 fine and two black points on your licence.
There are several violations which are classed as reckless driving in Dubai and the fines will vary depending on the offence. Sudden swerving will cost you a fine of AED 1,000 and four black points on your licence. Jumping a red light will also cost you AED 5,000 to 50,000 depending on the emirate you are driving in, plus 12 points on your licence and confiscation of your vehicle for 30 days.
Other offences include endangering the lives of road users, not leaving a safe distance between vehicles and overtaking on the hard shoulder.
All cars must be insured and registered, so if you’re using a rental agency, make sure they give you all the required paperwork. Driving without valid insurance and registration will land you with a AED 500 fine and five black points. Your vehicle will also be confiscated for seven days.
Failure to use headlights
Dubai law dictates that you must use your headlights at night, or during foggy weather conditions. Failure to switch on could result in a AED 500 fine and four black points.
Driving under the influence of alcohol
Drink driving is taken very seriously in the UAE and they have a zero-tolerance policy towards anyone driving under the influence of alcohol. Drink driving is incredibly dangerous for the driver, any passengers and other road users, so don’t even think about it.
Drink driving will cost you 23 black points, a fine of AED 20,000 and a jail term decided by the court. Your vehicle will also be confiscated for 60 days.
Not giving way for drivers on the left
Drivers drive on the right hand side of the road in the UAE and give way to drivers on the left. This will be normal if you come from a country like the US, or most European countries, but it will be less familiar for people from the UK or countries like Australia. Failure to give way to drivers on the left can set you back AED 200 in fines.
Speed limits in the UAE are slightly more complicated and they vary depending on the area and type of road. In Dubai, speed limits are 100-120 km/ph on motorways, 60km/ph in urban areas and 40km/ph in rural areas.
Fines also vary depending on how fast you are going. Speeding less than 60km/ph will result in a fine of AED 1,500 and six black points. Speeding more than 60km/ph can cost you AED 2,000 and 12 points on your licence and speeding over 80km/ph results in a fine of AED 3,000 and a whopping 23 black points.
Driving under the speed limit
It’s common knowledge that you can be fined for driving over the speeding limit, but in Dubai you can also be fined for driving under. Unlike speeding offences, you won’t receive any black points but you can still be fined. Fines range depending on how slowly you are driving. For example you can be fined AED 300 for driving less than 20kmph under the speed limit, but AED 1,000 for driving less than 50kmph under the speed limit.
Driving without number plates
Driving without number plates is a serious offence and motorists can be fined AED 3,000. They’ll also receive 23 black points and the additional penalty of having their vehicle confiscated for 90 days. It’s important to have the right licence plates too; from 1 January 2020 it became mandatory for all personal vehicles to have the newly designed license plates.
Using a mobile phone
It’s illegal for drivers to use their mobile phone on the road, unless you use a hands-free set. Improper use of a mobile phone while driving can result in a fine of AED 800 and four points on your licence.
Not wearing a seatbelt
Driving without a seatbelt results in a fine of AED 400 and four black points. It’s also simply unsafe to drive without a seatbelt so always buckle up before you leave! If you’re driving with children aged between four and eight, they’ll also need to sit in a booster seat. Always make sure that your vehicle can accommodate any extra booster seats or seat belts before driving, especially if you’re renting a car.
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