Officials in Dubai have criticised motorists for failing to give way for emergency vehicles, noting that during such times, every second counts when trying to save lives.
Dubai Police have created a new campaign, called ‘Give Way…Give Hope’, to try to make motorists more aware of the importance of giving way to emergency vehicles.
The campaign will run for three months.
Acting assistant commander-in-chief for operation affairs Major General Ali Abdullah Al Ghaithi says that it needs to become a cultural norm for drivers to give way to emergency vehicles in the United Arab Emirates.
Al Ghaithi says that it is crucial for drivers to know how to give way to emergency vehicles in order to generate improved emergency response times and help save lives.
Al Ghaithi made the comments at a press conference staged at the headquarters of Dubai Police, which is located in Al Qusais.
Dubai Police’s Traffic Department director Brigadier Saif Muhair Al Mazroui announced earlier this year that the penalty for failing to give way to convoys and emergency vehicles was increasing to Dh3,000.
A vehicle can also be confiscated for up to 30 days, with the motorist being hit with six black points.
So far this year, 121 such offences have been recorded.
In 2018, 166 motorists were fined by Dubai Police for this reason, a decrease from the 2017 figure of 247 fined.
However, while Al Mazroui acknowledges that the number of offences has fallen, he says that it is still too high given that anything that delays an emergency vehicle can result in the death of someone in need of assistance.
Drivers following emergency vehicles also face being fined if they commit any other traffic offences while doing so, such as sudden swerving.
However, Al Mazroui points out that a driver who moves their vehicle at a red signal in order to allow an emergency vehicle to pass will not be fined.
The message about the need to give way to emergency vehicles will be sent by radio, according to the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services’ executive director Khalifa Bin Drai.
Drai says that they are experimenting with a new system by using radio to send a voice message to warn drivers about the approach of emergency vehicles.
Although there are as many as 111 ambulance points in Dubai, response time remains a challenge due to the failure of motorists to cooperate.
Two accidents in which drivers failed to let civil defence vehicles pass them in emergencies recently took place, says Dubai Civil Defence’s Fire and Rescue assistant director Colonel Ali Hassan Al Mutawa.
Some motorists, particularly motorcyclists, were failing to leave a safe distance between their vehicles and those of the emergency services, and were ultimately responsible for two accidents.
Even responsible drivers can have accidents, which is why it is so important to have car insurance.
It is against the law to not have car insurance in the UAE, as it offers financial protection from damage to your vehicle and to that done to others.