Dubai drivers no longer need to pay off fines before renewing car registration

Motorists have previously had to clear all fines to complete annual renewal

Two vehicle recall notices have been issued in the UAE after problems were detected with the clutch and power steering features. Chris Whiteoak / The National 
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Dubai drivers can now renew their car registration without clearing unpaid fines, police have announced.

Dubai Police made the decision after motorists raised concerns that the emirate's vehicle renewal policy had made the force's ongoing Exemplary Driver discount scheme unworkable.

Car owners have had to ensure all traffic fines have been paid before they are able to renew their registration every year.

There was confusion after police rolled out its new safety initiative in which drivers can have all fines forgiven if they drive for 12 months without committing a traffic offence.

Residents contacted police to ask how they could be eligible for the full discount if they had to pay off their fines when renewing their registration during a 12 month period.

The force has teamed up with Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority to waive  the existing policy.

“The vehicle’s licence will be renewed regardless of the amount of the accumulated fines or any periods of confiscation imposed on the cars, or the number of offences committed,” said Dubai Police chief, Maj Gen Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri.

“This initiative is well thought out and has clear goals including helping  members of the community, easing financial burdens, and encouraging drivers to remain safe behind the wheel, eventually reducing accidents and road deaths,” he said.

It was not clear how much time motorists will be given to pay outstanding fines.

The scheme rewards motorists who maintain a clean record for 12 months with a 100 per cent discount on their fines. Those who drive for nine months without picking up further penalties will have their fines cut by 75 per cent.

Drivers who maintain a clean record for six months will have their existing fines cut by 50 per cent and by 25 per cent if they do not commit offences for three months.

Traffic penalties in Dubai vary from Dh300 — for exceeding the speed limit up to 20kph — to Dh3,000 for travelling more than 80kph above the limit.

Fines can also be levied for failing to maintain lane discipline, jumping red lights and driving dangerously.

Drivers who commit serious traffic offences can also have black points added to their licence and could face jail time.

In Abu Dhabi, some speeding fines were slashed by half last August when the speed buffer zone — allowing drivers to travel 20kph above displayed speed limits — was scrapped in the emirate.

The director general of Dubai police’s traffic department, Brig Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, said the shift in policy will encourage more drivers to renew their registration on time.

The Exemplary Driver initiative was launched on February 7 to encourage motorists to ease their foot off the accelerator and take extra care behind the wheel.

Police revealed last week that 457,000 drivers had received a 25 per cent discount on about 1.2 million violations in the first three months of the campaign.

Police said the scheme is already proving a success, with the number of accidents and deaths on the emirate's roads falling from February to May 7, compared to the same period in 2018.