Add to Technorati Favorites expat Abu Dhabi Dispatches: No Bad Deed Goes Punished

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

No Bad Deed Goes Punished

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!


Anonymous said...

This is really what happened:

A VVVVVIP had some unpaid fines.

because he is a VVVVVIP (and one of a few VVVVVVIPs who actually WORKS HIS ASS OFF for this country) the Govt dropped all his fines (which were around 4K... Not alot when you consider I pay about 20K a year)

Some other VVIPs (a few less Vs) complained.

And so the super VVVVVVVVVVIP who ordered the 1st VVVVVVVIP's tickets be cancelled also cancelled theirs AND decided to do what you just blogged about incase any VIPs (one V) were also annoyed.

NOT KIDDING. This is what is behind it.

Ace said...

Anon: I am not surprised at the explanation except I thought the VVVVVIP's can usually get the fines "excused" without changing public policy, but I understand the trickle-down effect. 4K is nothing compared to some of what my co-workers rack up.

The whole thing seems unworkable to me in an administrative way. Now the cat is out of the bag and the commoners know about it and will be pleading their cases.

Seemed all of that could have remained discrete unless some of the one V's made a stink to the press!

I have a suspicion that this will fade away as a lot of things have, and the non V's will still have to pay the full fines. As they should.

BTW, it is not the V's I have a problem with. All I have to do is stay out of the left lane and I am good! It's drivers from some other nearby places to the East that chap my ass!


Thanks for the explanation!

Chuck said...

There's no place like Abu Dhabi! And here I thought some Texas drivers were bad...

hemlock said...

i wish this would be implemented on a federal basis and not just emirate basis.

i have two fines in Ajman, two in UAQ, two in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi. and my car is due for registration in september, so basically, im screwed.

a couple of things:

people who get the ticket shock obviously dont check the abu dhabi govt / dubai govt websites where all the fines are consolidated. last year i cleared my fines online before showing up for registration. no rocket science.
in fact, ive signed up for the SMS service that notifies you every time you are ticketed. it's just convenient. (dubai police texts me. i feel LOVED).

2ndly, getting your tickets halved in AD is old news. you could previously just show up at one of their police stations and put in a request. a friend of mine raked up 8k in one night (he was obviously not paying attention to getting flashed every 6kms) but got the AD fines halved. know of a couple more of similar stories.
which is why, AD > Dubai.

3rdly, apparently, you can get your tickets in Shj, Ajman and UAQ removed from the system if you have wasta.
Unfortunately, since i dont, i will be paying a return ticket to Australia in speeding fines. AWESOME.

hemlock said...

also, im paying my abu dhabi fine today.
make hay while the sun shines baby ;)

毅筠毅筠 said...


hemlock said...

ok, i just came back to confirm...
(and this is the most beautiful day ever)...
i paid the fine online, and when the list showed up, in front of abu dhabi it said "50% discount"...

this was even better than shopping at DSF! <3

Neil Roberts said...

The stupid things is that the more Vs you got, the more you can afford to pay... and frankly even the single Vs (gotta love 'em, it's hard being a wannabe)aint short of cash!

Where I come from btw, traffic offenses that go to court are means tested, the more you got, the more you pay - it's the way to go, could solved Dubai's fininacial woes??

ultra[blue] said...

2ndly, getting your tickets halved in AD is old news. you could previously just show up at one of their police stations and put in a request. a friend of mine raked up 8k in one night (he was obviously not paying attention to getting flashed every 6kms) but got the AD fines halved. know of a couple more of similar stories.

Not exactly the case. You had to put in an "appeal" to a "judge"

Just so happens that 90% of the time, the judge's "discount" was about 50%.

As for the 1st comment, I heard the same, from a VIP (one V) and the super uber VVVVVVVIP was a man who has a mall in dubai, university in Dubai, is part of the FNC, and is a billionaire. (The mall and uni are named after him, this is enough to know who it was) He is also one of a very few members of the FNC that does NOT get paid. He rejects being paid a salary to do the "people's business."

Anyways. Yay! My 11K last year will now be 5ish!

Anyways, Supposedly, less Vs complained to a huge V and to appease everyone, even us non Vs, this was done.

I agree with Ace, stupid move. Lets see how many kids are killed on Dec 2nd this year on the roads!

靜宸靜宸靜宸 said...