Speeding, using mobile phones, and not maintaining a safe distance while driving are some of the major causes of accidents in the UAE. In 2021 Dubai witnessed a slight jump in motor accident death cases compared to 2020. According to authorities, most accidents happen when motorists lose control of the vehicle, leading to deadly collisions. Fleeing the accident site after an accident is a major offence.
Hit and run cases are primarily considered as traffic offenses. The traffic police repeatedly run campaigns to educate the motorists against fleeing the scene after the accident. The act is regarded as both morally and legally wrong. Hit run case is considered a misdemeanor by law till the other party dies or gets seriously injured. In such situations, it becomes a felony.
There are some important legal obligations that people must follow when involved in an accident in UAE. For instance, if you are able to move your vehicle then park it at the safest place and turn the car’s hazardous light on. Do check if the other party needs any medical attention. Inform the authorities by calling 999. Please follow the operator’s instructions and wait for the police to arrive. Meanwhile, you can check if you have all the necessary documents are available with you—for example, driving license, car registration documents, Emirati id, or passport.
Often drivers involved in motor collisions are shocked and unaware of their legal obligation. However, ignorance and lack of rational decision-making after an accident does not exempt anyone from punishment.
The Federal Law No. 21 of 1995 covers traffic law. The law governs and covers in detail the fines and penalties for people who commit traffic violations. The authorities in the UAE have a zero-tolerance policy for hit and run cases. Every driver involved in an accident must abide by the law. Below are the highlighted rules regarding road accidents mentioned in Federal Law no. 21 of 1995.
Any driver involved in an accident where they cause harm to humans, animals, or property must inform the authorities (nearby police station) within 6 hours unless an acceptable reason is provided. The driver must take all the reasonable steps to assist and provide care to the injured party. Once the police arrive, the driver must hand over all the personal papers to the policeman and collect a police report.
Car repair persons and garage owners are prohibited from repairing a vehicle involved in an accident or a vehicle that shows the signs of an accident.
Fleeing the scene of an accident after causing damage to a person is an unacceptable excuse. If proven, the person can be imprisoned and/or a minimum fine of AED 25,000. If the person is found to be under the influence of alcohol or anesthetic substances, the punishment may aggravate.
*As amended by Federal Law no. 12 of 2007
Suppose the owners of the vehicles fail to provide information in their possession that could aid in uncovering the circumstances of the accident. In that case, they are likely to be sentenced to a period of one year or less or pay a fine of a minimum of AED 5,000.
*As amended by Federal Law no. 12 of 2007
The police have the jurisdiction to arrest a vehicle driver if he or she is involved in any of the following crimes.
- Causing the death or injury to any person in an accident.
- Recklessly driving the vehicle.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or other narcotic substances.
- Refusing to share name and address or giving false credentials.
- Tries to flee in case of an accident after harming anyone or when the order to stop by the policeman.
The police have the jurisdiction to seize the vehicle if the vehicle is connected to an accident involving a crime.
UAE Traffic Law of 1st July 2017
With the vision of reducing traffic causalities in the UAE, the government amended Federal Traffic Law came into existence on 1st July 2017. The new law regulations aim to reduce traffic-related deaths. Though the law does not directly impact hit-and-run cases, it has some noticeable updates in the law. It gives a clearer definition of offenses and also elaborates methods to curb traffic violations. Some noticeable amendments are:
Mandatory Seat Belts For All: The new law made it compulsory for all passengers to wear seat belts, including those in rear seats. A child safety seat must be used for children up to four years. There are also clear guidelines for the person sitting on the front seat apart from the driver. The front seat passenger must be 145 cm tall and over the age of 10 years.
Reckless Driving: Reckless driving that endangers the lives of others may incur a fine of AED 2,000, 23 black points, and confiscation of vehicles for 60 days. Another violation involves jumping red signals, sudden swerving, blocking traffic, and driving without a number plate.
Driving Under the Influence: Anyone caught driving under the influence of a drug or narcotic substance can get their license suspended. The court finalizes the fine or jail term.
Traffic Signals: Jumping signals can cost you a fine of AED 1,000 and incur a penalty of 12 points. The vehicle can also get confiscated for a month.
Distractions: Using phones of other medium or distractions while driving can attract a fine of AED 400 and 4 black points.
Driver’s Behavior: The attitude and driver’s behavior also play a significant role for judges to make a decision in court. Suppose the accident happens when not leaving a safe distance between vehicles, violating technical and safety issues, using expired tires, driving without insurance, etc., can further complicate your hit and run case.
Road Safety Initiatives
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) governs the road safety and traffic rules in the UAE. The organization launched a major safety campaign in 2008 named Haseb (meaning “take care” in Arabic). The campaign was based on the statistic of 2007 that highlighted the primary cause of accidents. The seven critical causes recognized were:
- Excessive speeding
- Use of mobile phones while driving
- Not keeping a safe distance
- Not wearing seatbelts, lack of lane discipline
- Ignoring red traffic signals
The traffic police in UAE have warned drivers against leaving the scene without offering assistance to the injured party (person, animal, or things) or without providing any information. In case of minor accidents, the authorities advise the driver to move their cars to the safe zone and alert the police. The parties are expected to report the accident in 6 hours.
If you are facing charges for hit and run cases, please get in touch with our experienced traffic lawyers and accident case experts. We are available for online and telephonic consultation, or you can visit any of our offices in Dubai, Sharjah, or RAK.