Driver wearing a seatbelt

Dubai Police have issued more than 37,000 fines so far this year to motorists who failed to follow the new mandatory seat belt law that came into effect on July 1st.

The change in the law made it an offense for anyone in a vehicle to be unbuckled, with the primary responsibility placed on the driver. 

According to local media reports, Brigadier Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, Director of the Traffic Department of Dubai Police said, a total of 37,520 violations were registered during the first seven months of this year, compared to 42,291 fines throughout the whole of 2016. 

1,077 fines were given directly to the drivers, while the rest were issued by cameras.

"The seatbelt is so important as it reduces injuries in case of accidents. The fine for not wearing a seatbelt is Dh400 and 4 black points under the new traffic law," Brigadier Al Mazroui said.

Road safety campaigners had long called for the government to change the law to penalize careless parents and others.

“Traffic studies indicate that use of seatbelts reduces fatalities,” Brigadier Al Mazroui added. 

“Wearing a seatbelt also reduces severe injuries when there’s a collision, as it absorbs part of the crash’s force on the driver and passengers.”

The breakdown of the figures by month so far this year:

January - 8,102

February - 5,786

March - 5,933

April - 5,967

May - 6,351

June - 2,759

July - 2,621

The figures noticeably dropped as the date of the new traffic law approached on July 1, when it became an offense for backseat passengers not to be wearing a seat belt.

The new traffic laws cover a number of violations, all of which come with heavy fines, penalties, black points, and impounding of vehicles.

New violations covered in the latest legislation include child safety in cars, speeding, crowding around accident sites, and jaywalking.