First of all let me congratulate Dubai Police on their excellent results at the Dubai Government Excellence Awards 2010.
If you remember, it wasn't long ago since I last ranted about driving in the UAE and specifically Dubai. Specifically from Sept 2009:
This is when I listed the top 20 things that the stupid/crazy UAE drivers tend to do when behind the wheel of a car.
More recently, from Jan 2010 I wrote this post:
The topic is pretty straight-forward, it's all about lane-discipline.
So after more than a year since my return to Dubai, I'm still suffering from the f***ing idiots on our roads. They come in all shapes and sizes (fat and thin) and (Nissan Armadas to Nissan Sunnies), as well as slow and fast, left and right lanes, up or down a bridge, and driving pretty much in anyway they like.
We unfortunately had an assasination here in Dubai of a Hamas leader, not the most peaceful group, but since when has Dubai become the playground of thugs so openly? Our Police really does an amazing job going after the killers and of course liaising with Interpol etc..
They also do an amazing job keeping us safe in our homes, streets (pedestrian only), offices and airports.. Seriously, I have no criticisms on that front, and can safely say that Dubai probably is one of the safest cities in the world.
Now, my issue is this: The police spends a lot of time, effort and money to do the all the right things but with the wrong priority. Ok, it's great that we're going to go and put the Mossad chief in prison, and to liberate Palestine, and so on, but why not do all that after you've improved the situation on the road.
Sorry, but by giving stupid black points and rediculously expensive fines to motorists left right and centre you are not improving the situation and that cannot be considered good Police work. I'm sorry, but it just is not the case.
Both my parents have got black points on their licenses and they are probably one of the safest drivers that I know. All of this happened in 2010. Their driving attitudes and styles did not increase this year, nor have they had any accidents since they been both driving that was their fault. Dad had an accident where his car was totalled but that was more than 15 years ago by a guy with an Omani car and no license or insurance. So why is the Police penalising people that are at no risk to the public?
As a younger male driver, I am statistically more dangerous, and yet I have less black points than either parent! My felony was to use the 4x4 capabilites of my car and to drive in the sand to avoid the congestion due to a traffic accident ahead, probably caused by bad lane-discipline.
So the issue is this, from the zillions of Dirhams made from fines, why doesn't the Police spend some money to work on lane-discipline? I believe if we observe the right lane discipline we will benifit with:
1- Better safety. If you are slow, stay right, and if you're overtaking then go left. Never leave the lane to your right empty, and if it is then move into it. If everyone knows exactly which lane he/she should be in, then it's only normal for accidents to be reduced.
2- Higher road capacity. When you look at motorways in a civilised driving country like the UK, you'll notice the slow lane has the most wear and tear to it, because it's got the most traffic on it (including trucks). However, here the most utilised lane is the 2nd lane from the fastest, because everyone seems to think it's their lane. If you're a complete idiot, then you'd "park" in the fastest lane and not care about people behind you. This leads to huge inefficiency in the utilisation of the road. My humble estimate is that if we observe proper lane discipline then we can easly increase the road capacity by 30-40% without any changes to the road (thus no cost). All this by changing our driving attitute.
3- Predictability of driving leads to less road rage. Less road rage means less accidents and of course less speeding. But wait a minute, less speeding is bad if you get more than 600 million dirhams annually from fines (zawya) which is approx 15% of the Police's annual budget, and an even higher percentage of its undesclosed revenues.
I can go on and on, but we cannot continue to drive to be an international city with open borders and expect people to want to live here if we cannot get simple things right. Dubai has an amazing will to succeed and can do anything if it puts its mind into things. Who would have thought Dubai can build 3 terminals in less time it takes London to build one (T5 Heathrow = 19 years, wiki)?? Dubai famously built extensively into the sea and built the tallest building in the world. Given the current economic climate, it seems that's a title that Burj Khalifa (formerly Burj Dubai) will have for a long time to come. Dubai also designed and built a world-class metro system in under 5 years. Other countries take 10-15 years for FAST projects.
Why can't we get our brains together to fix the situation on our roads. After all I believe Dubai's roads are probably the best in the Gulf and the Arab World even, and more fun to drive in that the roads I been on in England for sure, but not Wales!
So please Dubai Police, please, please, do something about lane-discipline!
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