Police study white points system

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By Dina Aboul Hosn, Staff Reporter, Gulf News

Dubai: The implementation of a “white points” system mooted by Dubai’s police chief for rewarding good drivers in the city is under study at the department.

    *  Image Credit: Virendra Saklani, Gulf News     * Traffic on a section of the Emirates Road. The Dubai Police's Traffic Department is studying the implementation of a "white points" system to award good drivers.
* Image Credit: Virendra Saklani, Gulf News * Traffic on a section of the Emirates Road. The Dubai Police's Traffic Department is studying the implementation of a "white points" system to award good drivers.

“The system will probably be implemented in 2012, and to prepare for it, all mechanisms need to be put in place, which we are working on now,” said Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, head of Dubai Police’s Traffic Department.

The white points system, suggested by Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai Police Chief, aims to reward drivers who keep a clean record for a certain period of time by giving them “good driver credits” or “white points”, which can be used in case they commit a minor offence to reduce the penalty or scrap the violation.

Safe distance campaign

Maj Gen Al Zafein was speaking at a four-day “Keep a Safe Distance” campaign held at Mirdif City Centre, which ended yesterday. It was held in cooperation with the University of Jazeera.

The campaign included distributing pamphlets and a quiz about maintaining safe distance between vehicles.

Winners were picked in a raffle draw and received a watch each.

Failing to keep a safe distance between vehicles caused two deaths and 140 collisions in the first quarter of this year, police said.

It also caused 16 deaths in 574 accidents in 2008-2009 and 16 deaths in 448 accidents in 2010.

“Failing to keep a safe distance is often combined with speeding and bad driving habits in general, so it is hard to tell exactly how many accidents are caused by drivers’ failure to keep a safe distance,” Maj Gen Al Zafein said.

“But combating this habit goes hand in hand with curbing speeding.”

He added: “Achieving good results in one automatically affects the other because it is often the same drivers who commit both offences.”

Although the definition of a safe distance varies depending on speed, Maj Gen Al Zafein said the best rule to follow is to use the driver’s own judgment of how much space he needs at a certain speed to be able to stop suddenly.

Emirati Formula Gulf 1000 racer Haytham Sultan Al Ali was present at the police pavilion in the mall along with his racing car to spread the word among young people.

Speeding is for tracks

“I am here as a young race driver to advise people who like speed to go to special tracks where they can practise their hobby and drive fast cars,” Al Ali said.

“These race tracks are organised and supervised by police and have all safety requirements, which is why they should be the place to race, not our roads,” he added.

Marks for safety

University students who keep a clean traffic record should be rewarded academically by their universities, said Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Head of the Traffic Department.

“Students who drive carefully should be helped by giving them an extra mark or two to help them pass because encouragement plays a great part in making people, especially the youth, abide by traffic laws,” he said.

Points to remember

Be careful about the car ahead, keep a safe distance.

Always concentrate on the road while driving. Use of mobile phones, even with a headphone or hands-free kit, should be avoided. Texting while driving is a serious violation of safety rules.

Failing to comply with the safe distance rule will result in a fine of Dh400 and four black points.