Dubai Police to track disabled slots
DUBAI // Police plan to install parking monitors equipped with video cameras across the city’s roads, malls, and outside supermarkets and stores next year to deter able-bodied drivers from taking up parking spots reserved for disabled motorists.
Officers are working with the Roads and Transport Authority to identify the number of spaces for people with special needs and list where the monitors are needed most urgently.
“We have contacted the RTA to find out spaces on the road,” said Col Saif Al Mazrouei, the director of traffic at Dubai Police. “We will also add more monitors in shopping mall parking. This will help people who are disabled to reach places easily. Illegal parking in disabled parking areas is not acceptable and does not take into consideration their rights.”
The initiative began last month when the “Moraqeb” or Sergeant monitor was installed in Dubai Mall. It helped catch motorists illegally parking in the disabled slots and also to identify those misusing disability stickers when a person with a disability was not present in the car.
The 2-metre high grey-coloured monitor has been produced by Dubai Police. Size adjustments will be made depending on placement inside malls or on the road, police said.
More radars will first be installed inside the Dubai Mall, followed by Mall of the Emirates, before being extended to other areas across the city.
The radar first sends out a 20-second alarm when a car enters a specified disabled-parking space. If the car does not leave the spot, a photograph and video are taken and information about the offender is sent to the police. Violators are fined Dh1,000 and given four black points for parking in the disabled zone.
“We found that 70 per cent of people using the disabled parking are not handicapped,” said a traffic officer about data from the radar installed in the mall last month.
“Even with the radar, people were still not caring because they wanted to be close to the mall entrance. So if more radars are installed people will be more aware about fines.”
Dubai Police recorded 4,793 instances of motorists parking in front of fire hydrants and in disabled and ambulance spaces in the first five months of the year. There have been 36,358 offences related to disabled-parking spots over the past four years.
The video camera on the monitor also helps officers identify cars being driven by people with disabilities even if they do not have the special stickers.
“Sometimes disabled people don’t have the required sticker for their car but are using the correct parking space. The video will help if they are wrongly fined,” the officer said. “It will also help if a car is driven by a normal driver but the passenger is disabled and the car has no sticker.”
People with disabilities welcomed the initiative and called for more designated spaces to park. “This sensor idea is interesting and good, but what we also need is more parking for special needs drivers because we’re still stuck with the same two spots in most places,” said Neena Nizar, a school teacher who has Jansen disorder and suffers from skeletal and joint abnormalities.
“The number of slots should also be increased in places like Karama, Bur Dubai and near the consulates.”
About 5,000 disabled permits are currently in use, according to the RTA.
The authority did not respond to questions about the number of parking bays in Dubai and if there were plans to increase the number of disabled slots.
Published: December 24, 2014 04:00 AM