96pc back zero tolerance on drunk driving
Abu Dhabi, June 10, 2012
Ninety-six per cent of residents support the UAE’s zero tolerance policy on drink-driving, while 9 out of 10 consider it major a road safety concern, according to a recent survey.
Nearly 50 per cent of the respondents viewed it as a “widespread problem” in the country, added the survey conducted by 999 Magazine.
These traffic offenses continue to happen despite the fact that the UAE Federal Traffic Law prohibits drink-driving or driving under the influence of alcohol. The UAE is one of the few countries across the world that have a zero tolerance approach to drink driving, including Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Brazil.
The survey, which polled 1,850 UAE residents – both locals as well as expats – found that a whopping 96 per cent of respondents were against allowing drivers on the road even if they were only “slightly intoxicated”.
Lt Colonel Awadh Saleh Al Kindi, editor-in-chief of 999, said: “Drink-driving is a serious offence. It not only endangers the life of the motorist concerned, but could also potentially harm the health and safety of other road users. The numerous campaigns being undertaken by police are working, and residents are aware of the tough penalties for drunk-driving violations.”
“A survey conducted by 999, however, reveals that despite a vast majority of residents supporting the government’s zero-tolerance stance on drink-driving, an alarming number of people still continue to indulge in this deplorable act, as evidenced by the statistics of respondents knowing of someone who indulged in drink-driving in the previous 12 months.
“On a positive note, we are pleased to know that most residents support the UAE’s stance in this issue. This month’s cover story presents case studies and guidelines on the menace of drunk driving and we hope that by pro-actively helping each other in raising awareness on this issue, we can successfully put a stop to this and effectively make the UAE an even safer place to live,” he added.
The 999 survey also underscores the fact that despite a majority of respondents believing that penalties for violation of the drink-driving code are strict enough, a sizeable minority (26 per cent) believe that penalties are not severe, suggesting that they would like to see stricter sentences handed out to offending drivers.
The Traffic Law stipulates that any individual who consumes alcohol and drives or attempts to drive a vehicle faces between one month and three years in jail and/or a fine varying between Dh20,000 ($5,444) and Dh30,000.
The offender also faces 24 black points on his or her driving licence, confiscation of the vehicle for two months, confiscation of the driving licence for three months, and possible deportation. Offenders are obligated to take a road safety course before being allowed back on the road.
However, 31 per cent of respondents claim to know of someone who indulged in drink-driving in the previous 12 months, highlighting the fact that despite the authorities’ widespread campaigns and strict penalties imposed on offenders, drink-driving remains a widespread problem in the UAE.
What also remains a major concern is the proportion of respondents who were found complacent regarding this regulation. In the 999 survey, less than a third (32 per cent) of UAE residents said they believed there was a high risk of getting caught for this offence.
The survey is published in the June issue of English 999 magazine, a part of the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of the Interior to provide media coverage for the activities and efforts of the ministry and Abu Dhabi Police. It also aims to encourage the public to contribute to the reduction of crime in the UAE. – TradeArabia News Service