Sunday, September 15, 2013


File picture: Gulf News
The Goat made a series of wrong decisions the other evening, starting with choosing the old coast road back to Dubai from Dreamland Aquapark in Umm Al Quwain with a fully loaded car. Roadworks directed him into the depths of Ajman where, after an evening of being cut off by other motorists, being forced to make a number of emergency stops, and being directed in unexpected directions owing to the almost total absence of road markings and advance direction signs, he ended up in the wrong lane and was pulled over and given a ticket by a motorcycle cop.

Oh, joy. Oh, delight. Insert appropriate profanities under one’s breath here.

A couple of days later, the Goat received an SMS detailing the traffic offence, with details of how to pay the fine by going along to the Ministry of the Interior website. This, it would seem, is where all traffic fines end up, except for offences committed in Dubai. Certainly, there’s nothing on the Dubai RTA website, where the Goat's driving record is shown as pure as fresh-driven snow.

The Goat found the offence listed on the MOI website and paid his fine. He was both fascinated and appalled to learn of another offence, apparently committed in Abu Dhabi in 2011. 

The trouble is, the Goat didn’t import his car from Qatar and register it in Dubai until 2012.

The Goat doesn't give two hoots that it’s “only” AED300. He will not be accused of something he didn’t do without fighting it. He phoned the MOI, and was led a long and merry dance to the tune of “This is the wrong number. You need to call this different number” until he’d gone full circle and ended up at Criminal Investigation twice. Here, the very nice officer apologised, and even asked for forgiveness on behalf of the ill-informing multitude.

Dubai RTA subsequently led the Goat another merry dance. Eventually, having arrived at Vehicle Licencing in the RTA headquarters on Marrakech Street, he obtained a letter to take to Abu Dhabi Traffic Police. His request was met with a cheery, “Ah yes, someone else’s fine against your vehicle? We get lots of those. No problem; we’ll give you a letter.”

What had happened is that the previous owner of the Goat’s licence plate committed some traffic offence in Abu Dhabi. Then the plate got recycled without first clearing all fines. This, in turn, was because Dubai RTA doesn’t have access to the centralised federal traffic offence database and gaily undertakes registration renewals seemingly only checking its own traffic fines database. There are two systems: Dubai has one, and All The Other Emirates have the other.

It was easy for the RTA to identify who owned the plate when the offence was committed, and the RTA’s letter simply asks Abu Dhabi Police to transfer the fine to the guilty party. How irritating that the Goat has to do all the running around, getting himself freed from a fine for an offence that he couldn’t possibly have committed. They can’t sort this out in Dubai because of the two separate databases.

Here then is the story of how to deal with Phantom Fines in Dubai. Go to RTA HQ (Block C, Floor 2, Vehicle Licensing) and they’ll either deal with it, provide a letter to get Another Emirate to deal with it, or (if you can’t absolutely prove it wasn’t you even if your car was up on blocks without a gearbox on the day in question) tell you to cough up.

Oh, and don’t pay the fine and subsequently attempt to get your money back. Goods once sold will not be taken back, and no requests for refunds will be entertained.


1 comment:

RUSHI said...

If you are not aware of Dubai Traffic Fines , read the list referenced from Dubai Police.


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