Dubai launches campaign against modifying vehicles

Dubai: Motorists who have modified their vehicles such as by increasing the sound of their exhaust pipes or modifying the engine for more speed are being urged to ditch the add-ons as part of a new awareness campaign.

Launched on Thursday, the campaign will run for 30 days in Dubai under the slogan ‘Our Youths … Our Treasure’ and aims to educate young drivers of the dangers of modifying their cars.

The monthlong campaign will include field visits to schools and universities and workshops for students, Brigadier Ahmad Thani Bin Galita, director of Al Rafaa police station and head of the Police Stations Council, said at a press conference.

Text messages will be sent to motorists and police teams will visit Ramadan tents in residential areas to spread awareness. The campaign will be run on social media platforms as well and campaign message stickers will be placed on ATMs.

“Parents have a major role in watching their children and not allowing them to use their cars. Members of the public should help police and call 901 if they notice any incidents involving modified vehicles,” Brig Bin Galita said.

“Modifying cars can cause death or injuries. This campaign will target motorists who illegally modify their cars in order to increase their speed. We have witnessed major traffic accidents because of modifying cars,” said Brigadier Abdul Haleem Al Hashemi, deputy director of Al Ghusais police station.

Deadly accident

As recently as on April 27, an Emirati teenager was killed and three other youths were seriously injured in an accident on Al Khawaneej Road.

The accident happened at 11.15pm when the modified Land Cruiser which was being driven at a high speed suddenly swerved, hit a road barrier and crashed into a lamppost.

“The driver and three passengers, all aged 17, was going at 140hm/h on the road towards Al Multaqa roundabout when the vehicle swerved and crashed into the lamppost. The vehicle flipped many times,” Brig Al Hashemi said.

One of the passengers was killed and the driver and two friends sustained serious injuries. The injured are recovering in a hospital.

“A 35-metre-long section of the barrier was damaged, and the sudden braking left a skid mark for 49 metres on the asphalt. The main reason was speeding on the road on which the speed limit was 100km/h.”

He said the car belonged to the father of one of the teens who asked his friend to drive it. “The driver doesn’t have a driving licence. The engine wasn’t modified but we found a modification in the car to make loud noise,” Brig Al Hashemi added.

Prosecutor Salah Bu Farousha Al Falasi, head of the Dubai Traffic Prosecution, said modifying a vehicle could land the owner in trouble. “Modifying a vehicle is a deadly step. It is so dangerous on our roads. The owner can be fined and prosecuted in case of an accident or damaging property,” Al Falasi said.

Dh1 million fine

In some cases of accidents in which the modification is to blame, the compensation ordered can amount to Dh1 million, he added.

Dubai Police statistics show that no deaths were recorded due to reckless driving in 2017, while there were four deaths because of the offence in 2016. Police seized 89 modified cars in 2017, as compared to 101 cars in 2016.

The law and penalties

According to the Federal Traffic Law, motorists who modify their cars or engine can be fined Dh1,000, and they may be slapped with 12 traffic black points. Police can confiscate the vehicle for 30 days for the offence.

Driving a vehicle causing loud noise can incur a fine of Dh2,000 and 12 black points.