Starting from the 1st of June, motorists in Abu Dhabi can choose to have their car from being taken to a general impound lot for committing any non-major traffic violations. At present, motorists in the capital are fined depending on the level of the traffic violation. The law also requires them to pay a daily fee of AED 100, an amount that is to be paid to have their vehicle in an impound lot that has been assigned by the police. However, under the Abu Dhabi Police’s newly-introduced ‘smart vehicle seizure service’ initiative, car owners can retain possession of their vehicle for a much lower sum of AED 15 per day.
Of course, owners will still have to pay the fine that led to the impounding itself, but that is where the misery stops. According to the outgoing system, motorists who have their cars towed to a general impound lot not only have to pay higher per-day fees but also tend to worry about the general well-being of their car. Abu Dhabi Police seem to have taken note of this concern as well while rolling out the reformed system, and say that their overall aim is to provide the best possible service to the people.
The Abu Dhabi police department pointed out that the new impound service is only applicable for those motorists who haven’t committed any serious traffic offence. It does, however, take into account other traffic violations such as those involving speeding over the posted limit, window tints that are too dark, parking incorrectly or at undesignated spots, carrying more passengers than the vehicle’s maximum capacity, and also illegal modifications to the car’s engines or chassis. Depending on the severity of the offence, motorists can expect their vehicle to be impounded for a period of between seven days, or a maximum of up to 90 days. Moreover, if owners fail to collect their cars from the impound lot after having served the penalty period, they will incur more fines on a per-day basis.
With the introduction of the new seizure service, the process of impounding will become far less tedious for both the parties involved, i.e. the police and the car owner. After June 1, the smart vehicle seizure procedure will require affected motorists to head to their nearest Traffic Department, along with the requisite paperwork such as proof of ownership and a valid ID. Once at the location, technicians will install a specialised electronic monitoring device to the vehicle. This device will be used by the police to keep track of the vehicle’s status at all times during its entire impound period. If the offender were to attempt to drive their car during this phase, the device will send an alert to the police’s monitoring room.
For the installation of the smart device, owners are required to appear at any one of the service centres of the Department of Traffic of the External Areas, Al Ain Traffic Department, and the Al Dhafra Traffic Department. Depending on the location of the service centre, owners must arrive with all the necessary documents. Also, after the impound period has been completed successfully, owners are required to take their cars back to a service centre for the smart device to be uninstalled and should reach the location prior to 12 pm.
According to Brigadier Suhail Saeed Al Khaili, Director of Abu Dhabi Police’s central operations, all traffic-related transactions can be completed during the seizure period, post which, owners would be allowed up to 48 hours to return the smart device. Also, the new service will allow motorists to switch on the device anywhere in Abu Dhabi, thus providing some wriggle room in case of any emergency.