Police in Dubai have handed out almost 38,000 fines to drivers for failing to buckle up this year.
But the number of offenders has reduced significantly since mandatory seatbelt rules for backseat passengers came in on July 1.
The change in the law made it an offence for anyone in a vehicle to be unbuckled, with the responsibility placed on drivers.
Road safety campaigners had long called for the government to change the law to penalise careless parents and others.
Brigadier Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, director of Dubai traffic police, said that 37,520 fines had been issued, 1,077 of which were given directly to the drivers, while the rest were issued by cameras. He added that 2016 saw 42,291 fines throughout the whole year.
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The breakdown of the figures by month so far this year is: January, 8,102; February, 5,786; March, 5,933; April, 5,967; May, 6,352; June, 2,759; and 2,621 in July. The figures noticeably dropped as the date of the new traffic law approached on July 1, when it became an offence carrying a Dh400 penalty plus four black points for back-seat passengers not to be wearing a seatbelt.
“Traffic studies indicate that use of seatbelts reduces fatalities,” Brig Al Mazroui said. “Wearing a seatbelt also reduces severe injuries when there’s a collision, as it absorbs part of the crash’s force on the driver and passengers.”
Brig Al Mazroui called on motorists and passengers to always buckle up when in a car and also stressed that it is even more important for children, to ensure they are not thrown out of the vehicle if there’s a crash or even sudden breaking.
He also appealed to mothers to not carry their toddlers on their laps while seated in the front passenger’s seat.
“A person does not realise the grave consequences of a certain behaviour unless after it is too late and an accident, God forbid, has happened,” he said.