Tex­ting and driv­ing? Smile for the cam­era

Po­lice in Dubai turn to CCTV to snare mo­torists who break traf­fic rules

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Ali Al Shouk @AliAlShouk

CCTV cam­eras have long been used to keep Dubai’s streets safe - now they’re be­ing utilised to keep the city’s roads safe.

Po­lice said zoom mech­a­nisms on thou­sands of CCTV cam­eras in the city can al­low op­er­a­tors to see in­side ve­hi­cles and catch reck­less driv­ers such as those on their phones or not wear­ing seat­belts.

And some mo­torists ad­mit they have al­ready been caught out by the eyes from above.

Colonel Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, Di­rec­tor of Traf­fic Depart­ment at Dubai Po­lice, said many be­hind the wheel con­tinue to be­lieve they can flout ba­sic rules if no po­lice of­fi­cer is in sight. So po­lice have upped their game - lit­er­ally it seems.

Al Mazroui said: “We’ve started us­ing the 2,000 CCTV cam­eras to is­sue traf­fic fines.

“The cam­eras work to­gether with radars.

“Many mo­torists don’t fol­low traf­fic in­struc­tions and cut in front of pa­tient driv­ers in queues. “Ac­ti­vat­ing the sur­veil­lance cam­eras will tell mo­torists we are watch­ing them and will force them to fol­low the rules.”

Although the cam­eras do not flash, mo­torists re­ceive a text mes­sage within min­utes with de­tails of the of­fence, telling them they have been caught out. “Imag­ine you re­ceive a mes­sage on your phone within min­utes of com­mit­ting a traf­fic of­fence, de­spite there be­ing no po­lice­man around,” Al Mazroui added. There were 675 peo­ple killed on UAE roads last year, while sep­a­rate fig­ures show 19,200 have been fined so far this year alone for div­ing with­out a seat­belt. 7DAYS reader Kay Lan­caster said she hoped the cam­eras would be used to en­sure child safety. She wrote on the 7DAYS Face­book page: “Let’s hope the po­lice use it to de­tect chil­dren not in car seats and fine them, take their car away un­til one is fit­ted.” Ta­mara, 21, a stu­dent at Shar­jah Uni­ver­sity, said: “I usu­ally talk on the phone while driv­ing. Last week, my mother told me that I re­ceived a fine for talking on the phone. “I think driv­ing penal­ties are get­ting harsher ev­ery year.” And Mo­hammed, 25, said: “Lately, I have re­ceived many driv­ing fines, in­clud­ing speed­ing tick­ets and traf­fic fines for not us­ing a seat­belt. I guess I should change my driv­ing at­ti­tude and fol­low the rules.”

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