People who abandon their vehicles for a long period of time in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates will now receive a warning via SMS.
The new SMS notification system has been introduced by Dubai Municipality in order to give motorists quicker alerts to have their vehicles removed and to avoid disputes in particular cases, according to a senior official.
The new system is part of the effort being made by the municipality to maintain cleanliness in the city.
The new procedure was announced by the civic body via its pages on social media sites.
On Twitter, the municipality stated that the procedures surrounding unwanted cars will be changed to make it easier to notify owners that they need to have their abandoned vehicles removed to respect city residents’ right to park and to preserve the city’s beauty.
The organisation also posted a video that explained the new procedure.
A message will be sent to car owners that provide a deadline for when their vehicle needs to be moved, after which it will be impounded by the municipality.
The Department of Waste Management upgraded the system after officials found several cases where owners had gone on holiday or were unaware that garages they had taken their cars to for repair had left them in unauthorised parking areas.
The SMS system is an addition to the current system of issuing sticker notices, according to the department’s director Abdul Majeed Abdul Aziz Al Saifaie.
Stickers were issued asking owners to have the abandoned car removed within a certain number of days, depending on the site’s safety or how urgent the situation was, but owners often did not see them, resulting in the decision to upgrade the procedures.
There have been many cases where owners have disputed the action taken by the municipality, particularly when the cars had been taken for repair and garage workers had neglected them.
However, if an SMS is sent to the owner of a vehicle, they will become aware of the problem much sooner.
Many people leave their vehicles near parks and mosques and apartments with just one car parking space for residents, forcing them to park elsewhere.
Al Saifaie says that those people will be helped by the SMS notification to be immediately aware that a warning has been issued to have their cars removed by a specific deadline, allowing them to respond appropriately.
As many as 2,053 vehicles left abandoned in Dubai were impounded by the end of July last year, with 3,577 having been confiscated by the municipality in 2018.
In September 2019, the Department of Waste Management ran a month-long campaign to try to increase awareness over the issue of equipment and vehicles being left abandoned in public places.
There is also a fine of Dh500 for vehicles that are left looking dirty as a result of the department’s ‘My Vehicle’ campaign.
Anyone driving a motor vehicle in the UAE is under a legal obligation to have at least some form of basic third-party car insurance.