Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The end of another Dubai tradition?



A tradition we can actually do without is the one where motorists who have minor prangs and no injuries have to stand around in the sun and the dust waiting for a police patrol to arrive.

Without a written police report the insurance company won't pay up and workshops, officially, won't repair the damage.

According to Brigadier Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Director of the Dubai Police Traffic Department, there is at least one minor traffic accident every three minutes in Dubai, and he says that each takes 10 to 15 minutes to resolve.

I think he's just quoting the time at the scene doing the paperwork and not including the time the police patrol takes to get to and from the incident.

One every three minutes is 480 a day and that's a huge amount of police time wasted when they could instead be patrolling to clamp down on inconsiderate and dangerous driving.

Now the Traffic Department has met with the Emirates Insurance Association to discuss the possibility of referring minor car accidents, which are not subject to dispute, directly to the insurance companies.

That happens in many other countries. The drivers involved exchange contact and insurance details, get a witness name and contact details if necessary and then go on their way. Later they complete an insurance claim form.

Brig. Al Zafein said that "99 per cent of minor accidents do not involve disputes" and the police really shouldn't have to waste time on them.

He says that if the proposal is approved, the Traffic Department will train insurance companies on how to deal with, examine and assess minor accidents.

I think there'll also need to be education of motorists because there are bound to be some, maybe many, who have no experience of the system from their home countries.


The story is in Gulf News, here.

11 comments:

hemlock said...

i think this is a terrible idea - at least from the motorists point of view.

ive had random people bang into my car and there's always been an assurance the police will come and pass a (somewhat) fair judgment.
which is also why there are no disputes. it's not some driver's word against the other. what the cop says, goes, because he comes to the scene.

recently ive heard of instances where both drivers have been asked to come in to nearest police stations in case of minor accidents.

i like abu dhabi's route of having an alternate police force (or something similar) for such scenarios.

the real nick said...

As always hemlock is right.
She wants to see more strapping police officers taking down her telephone number, but I think we must not stop here.
There should be also some sort of Mutawa force required to assess the motorists' attire which could have caused the accident (such as a loose bra strap distracting a female driver), and the fire brigade, too, just in case one driver discards his cigarette butt by the wayside whilst waiting.

Yes. More state! Way to go.

Doug said...

Ah, yet another dose of reality, presumably caused by Dubai looking across the seas and going "Oh, hang on. Why didn't we think of that?"

This is exactly the system that has been used without any hassle for years in the UK and many other countries. It's a far superior system because - well, let's be honest, the police judgement isn't always impartial. We all know that if there is an accident and one driver speaks Arabic and the other doesn't, it'll be the non-Arabic speaker that gets the pink slip. From personal experience I also know that if you get pranged by a woman who then rants and raves at the police when you arrive, no amount of careful, polite and respectful explanation and drawing of diagrams will counter this.

So yes, let's have the insurance companies decide. I would rather have specialists in an air-conditioned office going through diagrams and the rules of the road in their own time make decisions about fault, than some overworked copper in the scorching heat getting yelled at.

Coming soon, other astonishingly unusual ideas from the West, such as having named streets to navigate by, rather than "take the turning after the giant lobster and we're behind Spinneys" and a postal service that delivers mail to your home letterbox rather than a mystical PO Box in the middle of nowhere....

Keefieboy said...

Now you're getting carried away, Doug.

Seabee said...

Doug the problem with the street names thing is that they're so excited by it that they're removing signs with suburb names and replacing them with street name signs. (I'm sure I've posted about this...hang on I'll look for it. Yes, here it is).

So if you know you want to get to, let's say, Al Barsha or Umm Suqeim but you don't have a photographic memory that can remember thousands of road names, you're stuffed.

Dave said...

I like the idea that Abu Dhabi uses, being nthe alternative "Police Dept" that attend and issue the accident reports. No doubt they are paid a lot less than Abu Dhabi's finest.

I think that without some sort of official attendance by a Govt authority the disputes will go through the roof.

hemlock said...

@ nick: much as i'd like to reply to this comment, i dont want to hijack seabee's post =)

Doug said...

Seabee, yeah, I know, it's an absolute joke driving down SZR. I don't know what genius told RTA that was the system used in other countries. But don't you agree, what would be useful would be major roads having signposts to areas within Dubai, and then when you're in those areas, each road having an obvious sign saying it was 'Al Jiberjaber Road' or 'Saeed Street'?

I'd love to be able to tell people I live at 14 Oryx Road, Al Wasl, Dubai and for them to be able to use that information to find me, rather than 'Take the exit after the Garden Centre and then it's the third on the left after the phone boxes opposite the crooked palm tree.'

Back on the insurance, obviously call the police out when there's dispute over the fault, but just swap insurance details when both parties agree whose fault it is and...oh, bugger. I've just spotted the flaw in the system.

Seabee said...

Doug,
"But don't you agree, what would be useful would be major roads having signposts to areas within Dubai, and then when you're in those areas, each road having an obvious sign saying it was 'Al Jiberjaber Road' or 'Saeed Street'?"

Exactly what it should be and I can't imagine why it isn't. Highly paid advisors who don't know what they're talking about?

livinginuae said...

That's Dubai's Traffic! Whether it's a minor or major accident, other motorist will slow down to see what happen..Worst still, if there's a blonde in shorts standing alongside SZR road shoulder with her Merc Convert down!

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