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Speed Radars in the UAE: for Safety or Profit?

The UAE generates billions of dirhams in profit annually, and the profit increases significantly every year. It is either people have decided to break more traffic rules on their new year’s resolutions or the government is successfully implementing new rules and fines to further boost its income, and the latter makes more sense.

Whether or not the UAE government is profiteering from the traffic fines policed system is debatable, but the fact that there is a huge emphasis on creating new traffic rules and increasing penalties for current rules on a regular basis is a clear sign of the government’s interest in “diversifying” its cash flow.

The UAE government has not missed a single opportunity to collect cash from drivers and has left absolutely no space for personal freedom, as new radars even detect if you are wearing a seat-belt or not. The penalty for not wearing a seatbelt is 400 dirhams and 4 black points, which means a driver is a few no-seatbelt mistakes away from crippling his budget and losing his license. Is the government trying to save my life or ruin my life?

Those that consider the UAE as a “tax-free” only need to make a few calculations to realize that there is an average of at least 200 dirhams per UAE resident per year being collected in the name of safety enforcement.

Yes, I know that the rules are clear, and I should follow them if I don’t want to pay anything, but we are human, and we are naturally bound to make mistakes, no one drives with a perfect mindset, and this might just be the profiting point of this whole system. Is paying 600 dirhams for a 1 km/h increase over the already low “speed limit” that the roads can handle in Dubai justifiable as a safety measure?  Not to mention the constantly increasing list of rules that suddenly appear after my arrival to the country? How is such a long list of rules even manageable by the average driver? If anything, it causes drivers to be more focused on not breaking the rules, than driving in a relaxed, natural and free flow manner.

Being owned by the government, fines generated by speed radars in the UAE get listed on your records on a government level and count as a loan to the government – even banks don’t have this power of loan collection. Not paying hundreds of thousands of bank loans is much easier than defaulting on a 10,000 speeding fines record. Your government records from different departments are all interconnected. Once the UAE government slams it’s loan collection hammer, it gets so bad that defaulting on your speeding fines can lead you to not being able to renew or acquire a new work visa. Not being able to work anymore or losing your job, because of the fines, also means you would not be able to pay them, which leads you into yet another one of UAE’s loan traps.

The result of what seems to be a giant government-owned money making scheme: a safety record that is indeed low, but not impressive when compared to other countries that have less infrastructure and strict rules and far more leniency and freedom.

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