Those that know me have heard me say "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished" many times. It has become my personal motto. I adopted it as such through the School of Hard Knocks where I am current earning my post-graduate degree.
It seems the Emirate of Abu Dhabi does not concur with my wisdom. The powers that be announced this bombshell today:
"The Abu Dhabi police traffic department has slashed all traffic fines issued in the emirate by 50 per cent, officials announced on Tuesday."
I am not one to criticize the police haphazardly and I know they have a tough job to do, but in this case I have to wonder what the hell were they thinking? Abu Dhabi is one of the most dangerous places in the world for motorists. This is because there is a toxic stew of driving styles on the road as everyone is from some other country. You have 200 KMH Prados competing for the left lane with rusty, overloaded Toyota Hi-Luxes at 60 KMH. Then there are the differences in training and culture. West versus East, North versus South, attentive versus not, aggressive versus non. I think you get my drift. All too often this is the result:
Real UAE, not a Hollywood Set
The Infamous Fog Crash Aftermath
Speeding White Toyota Prado Result
I see really stupid crap every time I drive. Defensive driving skills are really honed here, my head is constantly on a swivel. So I wonder why fines are relieved by half for the bad guys. Here is the official answer:
"The reprieve comes after the amended traffic law, which stipulates hefty fines for traffic offences, left many motorists heavily indebted to the government, a senior traffic official disclosed."
So, if I am to understand correctly, the powers-that-be determined that too many bad drivers with self-inflicted offences owed too much to the government to get their cars re-registered so fines they owed were reduced enabling them to go back out on the road and re-menace other motorists. That's just not logical, or am I missing something here?
You see in Abu Dhabi, there are speed cameras, drivers are rarely pulled over and issued a ticket by the police. You speed by one of the hidden cameras and see a brief flash and your photo is taken. You may never know you were cited until you go to renew your registration. Many drivers get "ticket shock" when a year's worth of fines need to be paid at annual registration time or they will not get renewed.
To me, the halving of the fines sends the wrong message. They should be doubled so that these inconsiderate, shitty drivers have to eat ramen noodles and take the bus for three months before they can afford to get their driving privileges back. Then maybe by then they will have learned a lesson. Making it less expensive to be a jerk just reinforces bad behavior.
Some other issues surface that indicate this was not well thought out, as typical:
"The decision has already taken effect since the past three days, although the official announcement was made only Tuesday."
OK, so what if I paid the full fine two days ago or two weeks ago, is it retroactive? Do I get a refund?
"For now, all motorists will enjoy the reduced fines but soon we will decide who should be given the reprieve based on the traffic record of the driver," Colonel Engineer Ahmad Hussain Al Harthy, Director of Abu Dhabi Police Traffic and Patrols department, told Gulf News.
Sure to be a bureaucratic nightmare as every scofflaw comes out of the woodwork to plead his/her case. I can't even imagine!!! There are tens of thousands who owe fines and it looks like each case will be reviewed on an individual basis. Do they realize how long that will take?.
And this gem:
"After news spread about the decision, the traffic department was being thronged by thousands for renewal of vehicle registrations."
Geez, I wonder why? When you make it easier for assholes to be assholes again they will always jump at the chance!
If I was King, I would double or even triple the fines and get the dual benefit of keeping these effen idiots off the road for awhile AND maybe they will remember to drive in a way as to not endanger fellow motorists and/or themselves.
I am certainly no prude and I like to cut-loose at times but I take driving seriously and when someone endangers my health and/or my life on a public road for no goddam reason but being stupid, I tend to take it personally!
All quotes in italics are from the full story in : The Gulf News
Drive safe, y'all!