Walking on UAE roads? Beware! Road accidents in the UAE have been on the rise and government has not been able to reduce the number even after all the sanctions and fines that have been attached to rash and negligent driving. News reports reveal the increasing number of road accidents where it has been highlighted that the first quarter of 2013 has seen a glaring rise to 48 road accidents compared to the 27 road accidents that took place in the corresponding period of last year. Not only have the number of accidents increased, even the number of accidents causing serious injuries and deaths has increased this year in comparison to last year.
With the rise in the accidents, the number of Hit and Run cases are also on a rise. Daily the newspapers give us a new story about such cases. one published a case concerns a person who was arrested after he submitted himself to the police for committing a Hit and Run a week earlier in which a 5 year old girl lost her life while playing outside her house. Hit and Run are cases where a person after committing the road accident by hitting someone with his vehicle flees from the scene in order to escape liability for his actions. Hit and Run is considered to be a serious crime as not only does the person committing such crime try to escape his liability but also he leaves the person injured there unattended which may at times aggravate the injury or even lead to the death of the person and therefore the Law has provided for sanctions against such acts.
The Federal Law No. 21 of 1995 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the law’) concerns the regulation of traffic in the United Arab Emirates. The law provides for various rules and regulations that one need to follow while driving a vehicle. Some of the rules that are essential to avoid injuring pedestrians are as follows:
- 1. It is mandatory to slow down the vehicle to a minimum speed while coming across a passage for pedestrian when there is no traffic sign or police. In case the pedestrian is crossing, the vehicle must halt till the pedestrian has passed.
2. In case there are traffic signs for the passage of pedestrian, it is mandatory to halt when the sign indicates for the passage of pedestrians. In case a pedestrian is passing and the passage sign goes red when the pedestrian is halfway, it is obligatory for the vehicle driver to wait for the pedestrian to pass and only when the passage is clear of pedestrians should he start moving.
3. There is fine of 500 AED provided for the person violating the above mentioned regulations.
The law also provides rules that a person must follow while driving for his own safety and the safety of other people on the road. But the following regulations that are to be abided by in case of an accident where an injury is sustained to either a human or an animal.
- 1. The personal papers (the Emirates I.D. or the Passport) of the person driving and the papers of the vehicle must be handed over to the police officer attending the accident.
2. All necessary assistance that is needed by the injured person or the animal must be provided to ensure that the injury is not aggravated.
3. If in case there is no attending police officer present on the site then the accident must be notified at the nearest police station immediately. If it is not possible to inform immediately it must be informed within a maximum period of six hours from the time of the accident. In case it gets delayed beyond that time, the police must also be informed as to a reason for such delay.
In case the person involved in the accident doesn’t abide by the above rules, it shall be considered to be a Hit and Run case. The Police officers in such cases have the power to arrest such persons. The law empowers the police to arrest a person in the following cases:
- 1. Causing the death of another person owing to the driving of a vehicle, or causing harm to him.
2. Driving a vehicle in a reckless or dangerous way.
3. Driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any other narcotic or the like, thus depriving him of his power of control over it.
4. Refusal to give his name or address or giving a false name or address at the time of occurrence of one of the cases enumerated hereinabove.
5. Attempt to flee in case an accident harming any person occurs or in case of an order to stop given by a policeman.
Apart from the arrest, sanctions are also provided for the above enlisted offences. The sanction provided for Hit and Run cases is that of a term of imprisonment according to the discretion of the court and a minimum amount of twenty five thousand dirhams (AED 25,000) as fine.
A similar penalty is also sanctioned in cases where the vehicle driver is driving or attempting to drive the vehicle on the road while under the effect of alcoholic drinks, drugs or any other anesthetic substances.
Further a penalty of imprisonment for a period not in excess of three months and to a fine of a minimum amount of five hundred Dirhams (AED 500) or either of the two is sanctioned in case the vehicle driver fails to provide necessary documents and information required by the attending police officer on the commission of any offence such as Hit and Run or Drunk Driving by the said person.
Apart from the above mentioned penalties prescribed by the law, the court is also empowered by the law to take the following measures against the offender in case any of the above discussed offences are proved against him:
- 1. Suspend his driving license for a specific period and deprive him of the right to obtain a renewed license for a further period after the expiry date of the suspended license.
2. Deprive him from the right to obtain a driving license for a specific period if he does not hold a license in accordance with this Law.
Whoever is so deprived from the right to obtain a driving license may submit before the same court that condemned him an application for abrogating such deprivation after the lapse of six months from the date of the condemnation. Any license obtained during the period of deprivation is considered to be null and void and the person driving on the basis of such license will be deemed to be driving without a license and shall be sentenced to imprisonment and with a fine of a minimum amount of five thousand dirhams (AED 5000).
For legal advice regarding the subject, please call +971 4 4221944, or call 800-LAWYER (529937).