Seat belt offences in Sharjah down by 66 per cent during pandemic restrictions

A federal law that was passed in 2017 requires all passengers to wear a seat belt while travelling in a car

Sharjah Police issued 5,605 fines against motorists who failed to buckle up in the past nine months. Pawan Singh / The National
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The number of seat belt offences in Sharjah fell by 66 per cent in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period in 2019, police said.

The drop reflected a decline in the amount of traffic on the roads because of movement restrictions imposed to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Residents across the UAE stuck to stay-home orders to help stem the spread of contagion for more than two months.

Sharjah Police issued 5,605 fines in the period to motorists who failed to buckle up. The authorities handed out 16,397 fines to drivers during the first nine months of 2019.

The dangers of not wearing a seat belt.

A federal law passed in 2017 requires all passengers to wear a seat belt while travelling in a car.

Drivers who do not wear seat belts and fail to ask passengers to do the same face a Dh400 fine and four black points on their licence.

Between January and September, 1,071 passengers in Sharjah were fined for not fastening their seat belts compared to 4,974 in 2019.

“A significant decline of 78.5 per cent was also seen this year in the number of passengers found not buckling up,” said Capt Saud Al Shaibah, head of Awareness at Sharjah Police’s Traffic and Patrol Department.

“The department reached out to the public through an online campaign with messages aimed at raising their awareness about the importance of fastening their seat belts and how that helps to save lives.”

In January to June this year, Abu Dhabi police officers fined 22,162 drivers for failing to buckle up or not ensuring everyone in their car wore seat belts.

“Using seat belts reduces fatalities and severity of injuries in cases of traffic accidents,” Abu Dhabi Police said.

Maj Gen Mohammed Saif Al Zafeen, assistant chief of Dubai Police, said seat belts reduce the death risk to front-seat passengers by 50 per cent and between 25 and 75 per cent for those in the back.

“Severity of injuries also fell by 80 per cent for those involved in a traffic accident if they used seat belts,” he said.