Texting and driving? Smile for the camera
Police in Dubai turn to CCTV to snare motorists who break traffic rules
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.”