DUBAI // A six-month media and education campaign to improve road safety by raising awareness of the black points penalty system for traffic offences was launched in Dubai yesterday. The Dh9 million (US$2.45m) campaign is being run by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in conjunction with Dubai Police. Under the penalty system, which was introduced on March 1, drivers can receive black points for 73 separate motoring offences. Accumulating 24 points within a six-month period results in a driving ban.
The campaign will start immediately with extensive advertising in newspapers and magazines, and on television and radio. Posters and billboards will be placed at shopping centres and petrol stations. Seminars, discussions and competitions in schools and universities will follow. The police and the RTA believe the campaign is a crucial part of ongoing efforts to change the attitudes of motorists on the emirate's notoriously dangerous roads. They hope the message will reach 95 per cent of motorists in six months.
"It's very well known that Dubai is notorious for its traffic indiscipline so it's imperative for the police and the RTA not to allow any abuse of traffic regulations on the roads that puts people's lives at risk," Maj Gen Khamis Mattar al Mazeina, acting chief of Dubai police, said yesterday. "Through this campaign we aim to raise the awareness of the penalty system, which includes suspending licensing in some cases."
Many of the posters and advertisements will feature a wooden dummy who endangers his life and those of others by driving recklessly. His antics will be accompanied by slogans such as "He is a dummy, but you have a brain: be wise". The campaign will include 500 radio commercials in English, Arabic and Urdu and more than 200 advertisements in newspapers and magazines. Kiosks offering information on the points system will be set up in six major shopping centres.
Prior to the introduction this year of the amended Federal Traffic Law, black points were awarded only for offences that resulted in on-the-spot fines. The updated law means many "in absentia" offences, such as speeding or jumping a red light, now carry points as well as fines. Maj Gen Mazeina said the new traffic law had been largely successful since its implementation. In previous years, police issued an average of about 1.8 million fines to drivers on Dubai's roads, 90 per cent of them for speeding. Speaking at the launch, Mattar al Tayer, executive director of the RTA, said road accidents cost the authority between Dh400m and Dh600m a year.