Sunday, March 01, 2009

Fifth Amendment

“Is this your vehicle, sir?”

That terrible, inevitable question that follows the flashing blue light and a brief wail of siren.

And the response, “Er, yes officer,” sounds like a full confession for all those times you never got caught.

So you know you’re bang to rights. You get your ticket, and as surely as night follows day, the Black Points will appear along with a fine that will have to be paid.

The local constabulary is on record as being a little annoyed that errant motorists don’t immediately pay their fines. There’s no real need to until annual re-registration or some other dealing with Officialdom at which point all fines must be cleared. It is in theory possible to check and pay on line or at one of the machines found dotted around the shopping malls. I know for sure that there’s one in Lamcy Plaza and another in Deira City Centre. But if you don’t habitually go along to the Dubai Police website, how would you know? Especially if the traffic infraction was detected, as most of them are, by a camera on a stick.

If there’s some means to communicate the offence to the vehicle owner, then “Pay up within 28 days or we’ll see you in court” starts to become a horribly realistic proposition. How about an email, or SMS? Or even, imagine this, a letter in an envelope? The current system requires that a responsible motorist (presumably the one who’s responsible…) actively seeks out whether or not he’s been busted. Actually, “Pay up within 28 days and receive a 50% discount and no Black Points” would surely have the money rolling in.

Hang on, despite all the easy ways to pay that are on offer, the whole traffic fine system isn’t a milch-cow; it’s to enhance road safety…

Off to the Dubai Police website, then. It doesn’t matter where the vehicle is registered; if it was detected at high speed or parked in front of a fire hydrant in Dubai, the evidence is to human view displayed, complete with date, time and sometimes even a photo of the number plate.

But what if your car only ever breaks the speed limit in Sharjah? If it’s registered in Dubai, Sharjah Police tell Dubai police and up pop the details. The problem comes if the vehicle is registered in Sharjah and offends there. Nothing on the Dubai Police website. And the Sharjah Police website ‘Traffic Fines’ link points straight at the Ministry of the Interior Traffic Infraction System in Abu Dhabi. So still no information. A further complication is that the MOI website needs the “Unified Traffic ID”, whatever that is. I only found out yesterday that it’s the number on the bottom of the back of the registration card and is unique to each vehicle owner. Both the Goatmobile and the bike have the same “Unified Traffic ID”. By the way, searching by driving licence number only works for Abu Dhabi licences.

I rang the number on the Sharjah website, 800 3333 and was eventually regaled by a bilingual robot woman who told me that my call wouldn’t be answered. Duh. A lot of telephone tag eventually revealed that the correct number to call for checking traffic fines in Sharjah is 06 5177566. A Yemeni gentleman expressed surprise and disappointment when I didn’t have any fines showing on his system. It would appear that despite my hatred of speed cameras, they might actually work as advertised.

How difficult can it be to set up a single website that covers all vehicles registered in the United Arab Emirates and shows any and all outstanding offences committed in any one of the seven United Arab Emirates?

Come on guys…!



hemlock said...

i have a speeding fine in Ajman, and one in Umm al Quwain, and i discovered them on the abu dhabi police website - which i check regularly along with the DXB police website - helps with budgeting.

i think on dxb's website, you can subscribe for fine notification through sms.

Grumpy Goat said...

Is your car registered in Abu Dhabi, Hemlock?

Beloved Wife's car is Dubai-registered and any fines show up on the DXB-police but not the AUH-police website.

The Goatmobile is registered in Sharjah, and is apparently fineless. (touching wood, rubbing the lucky Buddha-belly, giving thanks, etc.

hemlock said...

nopes. it's a dubai plate. the ajman and UAQ fines showing up on Abu Dhabi's police page was a surprise. last year's ajman, RAK and UAQ fines had to be paid in sharjah.
(they come at you from all sides)

Grumpy Goat said...

See what I mean? Wouldn't a single website for the entire UAE, a 'one-stop shop' if you will, be a fine (boom boom!) idea?

Anonymous said...

I had a Dh200 parking fine in November which I paid at the RTA at Al Barsha opp Mall of the Emirates a week later. It is still showing as outstanding on the Dubai Police website today. Why do I get the uneasy feeling that I am going to have to pay it again when I renew my car's registrtaion in September despite having a receipt showing that it is already paid? Hmmm

Owl said...

I, er, don't have the heart to check my fines. I'll take my lumps at the end of the year registration ;)

And dude, as a fellow pissy member of the animal kingdom, aI think we must be related. Ah habibi, you must be my cousin!


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