In UAE, we may find ourselves involved in an unfortunate car accident at some point in our life. These car accidents can happen for various reasons; Most of the time, neglect is a major contributing factor. An accident may arise under various circumstances. Accidents may be a direct result of our actions or they may be caused by the fault of other drivers. In any case, the situation can be very stressful. Understanding what to do if something like this happens is a legal requirement, for which one may consult with a law firm, and you should always be prepared to deal with it.
In UAE, the current statistical analysis of the number of car accidents is 6 accidents per 100,000 people. Fines for traffic violations in the UAE are normally levied in accordance with the Federal Traffic Law which came into force on 1 July 2017 (the “Traffic Law”). The list of fines for traffic violations is frequently updated yearly and is issued frequently by all Emirates. Traffic regulations have been imposed in line with the UAE's vision to reduce the number of traffic injuries from 6 per 100,000 people to 3 per 100,000.
In the event of a collision, the most important document to establish is the Police Report. Also, you may land yourself in some serious trouble, both legally and financially, if there is no police report. In Dubai and the Northern Emirates, you dial 999 for the police. In Abu Dhabi and its outskirts, 999 is to be dialed for the traffic police – Saeed.
The following main steps must be taken when involved in a car accident
- Reporting the accident/Alert the authorities: In cases of serious injury or damage, call the police at the emergency number 999, and also request an ambulance service. Simultaneously, in case of a minor car accident, the police helpline for the non-emergency case can be dialed at 901. Alternatively, in Dubai, all cases of minor accidents can be reported in an easy application process using the Dubai Police mobile application. The process takes only three minutes and you will be required to enter your driver's license details and vehicle registration, while you are also required to take some photos of the damage to your vehicle so that authorities can assess the scene and identify the party at fault.
- Obtaining a Police Report: The most important document to check in the event of a collision is the police report. Without this, you could find yourself in serious trouble, both legally and financially since it is illegal to make any repairs without a police report. When an incident is reported to the police, they will take action to identify the defaulting party by accessing the scene, photos, and other digital means. The accidents that are reported through the Dubai Police App, those reports are then sent to all concerning parties through SMS within 24 hours of finishing the process on the app. Upon completion of the checks, a police report will be issued, which constitutes the most important document proving the occurrence of the accident and is also required in the follow-up of insurance claims.
- Notify your insurance company: It is also necessary to immediately contact your car insurance provider and report the accident and possible damages. Once the police report is obtained, it must be submitted to the insurance company, in order to be eligible for an insurance claim.
- Wait for help to arrive: If the damage is only cosmetic, it's okay to move away from the scene of the accident. In the event that your vehicle is severely damaged and is unsafe to drive, the insurance company will generally have to send a recovery truck to tow your vehicle to the nearest authorized garage. The duration of the repair depends on the extent of the damage and the availability of spare parts.
The UAE enforces strict traffic laws in order to further its goal of creating safer roads. While only minor traffic violations may pay fines, for more serious traffic violations, more severe penalties, including prison terms, can be imposed, especially when the safety of others is at risk.
For example, reckless driving will result in fines, black points, and vehicle confiscation: Driving a vehicle in a way that endangers the life, safety, or security of the driver or others, or driving a vehicle in a manner that may cause damage to the vehicle. Public and private facilities: Dh2,000 fines, 23 black points, and 60-day vehicle impound for light vehicles.
However, as stated for more serious traffic offenses, the punishment for the said offense is handed down by the court and can include imprisonment and fines. This is in relation to more serious crimes such as:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol;
- Driving under the influence of drugs, psychotropic substances, or any similar substance;
- Causing the death of a person;
- Causing an accident or serious injury.