Vehicle Fines in UAE
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is renowned for its vibrant car culture, boasting an impressive collection of fast, exotic, and luxurious vehicles. With a population of nearly 9.5 million, this small Gulf nation has an astonishing vehicle-to-person ratio of approximately two cars for every resident.
Driving in the UAE can be a double-edged sword due to strict fines and regulations, turning the streets into a playground for some and a nightmare for others.
The UAE is famous for its autobahn-style desert highways, where speed limits typically reach 120km/h, with an additional 20km grace period. However, drivers often exceed these limits with little regard for the potential consequences. In the capital city of Abu Dhabi alone, a staggering 4,775 cars were confiscated for exceeding speeds of 200km/h in 2014. And if you manage to evade the police, there’s still a good chance that the speed cameras will catch you in the act.
Surprisingly, the UAE’s speeding fines are not as exorbitant as those in many Western countries, despite its reputation for high-end cars. In the UAE, you can exceed the maximum speed limit by more than 60km/h and still face only a 1,000 AED ($272) fine, along with a 30-day vehicle impoundment. On your first offense, you won’t face jail time, driver’s license suspension, or revocation.
However, it’s not speeding that will land you in serious trouble in the UAE; it’s road rage. Your traffic etiquette is closely monitored, and aggressive behaviors such as responding to a careless driver with offensive gestures can lead to a potential jail sentence of up to one month.
Reckless driving isn’t limited to speeding and running red lights. Even seemingly minor infractions, like applying makeup while driving, were categorized as dangerous driving behavior last year, carrying a fine as hefty as the bags under your eyes – 1,000 AED ($272) with the possibility of vehicle impoundment. However, if you’re feeling daring, you could try to evade a traffic police officer, potentially settling for an 800 AED fine.
As expatriates frequently move in and out of the UAE, there’s a substantial turnover in the used car market, contributing to a $2.5 billion industry. With approximately 19 million registered vehicles in the country, UAE officials have expressed concerns about promoting public transportation options.
To encourage the use of public transportation, the UAE introduced a tram system in 2014, accompanied by significant traffic fines to protect this multi-million-dollar transport system. While traffic violations might not be the first thing you associate with trams, the first four months of tram operation saw over 1,400 traffic violations involving trams. To deter these violations, the authorities introduced new fines, with running a red light now carrying a penalty ranging from 5,000 AED ($1,361) to 30,000 AED ($8,168), depending on the extent of damage and injuries.
While running red lights, speeding, and reckless behavior on the road can lead to substantial fines, some infractions may seem merciless. For instance, getting fined 200 AED ($54) for running out of gas can be quite frustrating. Additionally, if your vehicle is deemed “noisy,” you may be subject to an extra 500 AED ($136) fine.