How toll and traffic fines work in UAE and how fleet management helps to monitor them in real-time

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  • Post last modified:July 26, 2021
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Executive Summary

Paying traffic violations, toll fines, speeding penalties (etc.), is something that we deal with every day. In fact, we have almost ‘accepted’ it as a part of our daily lives! 

However, for Fleet Management Companies it can have serious repercussions – they manage a vast number of vehicles across complex operations every day and these costs of traffic violation can spiral out of control very quickly. 

Therefore, identifying high-risk drivers and rectifying their behavior is the order of the day. Adopting an effective and fair Violation Management Program helps Fleet Management Companies to manage violation costs, gain insight from past history and pre-empt – and, hopefully, prevent- possible future incidents, especially those that compromise fleet and societal safety.

Fleet Management: managing fines and violations, managing driver behavior

For Fleet Management Companies (FMC), the cost of conducting business includes toll violations, parking tickets, red-light camera infractions. While it may not seem a major expense if you consider the vast fleets that such companies operate you will understand the significance of this cost!

Estimates put toll violations (60%) in the lead, followed by parking violations (22%), red-light cameras (12%), and speeding cameras (8%).

The problem with violations is that these are issued to the vehicle and not to the driver. Thus, the owner of the vehicle – either the fleet or fleet management company — becomes liable.

The fleet or FMC generally pays immediately to avoid licenses/registration being debarred or penalties and then bills the commercial fleet. Thereafter, the commercial fleet must figure which driver was responsible for the ticket, whether the charge was fair and whether to contest it, and then decide whether to claim it from the driver — all this is a cumbersome and tedious process with poor closure.

Importantly, when a fine is paid on a driver’s behalf, it is effectively an admission of guilt even if the driver might want to contest the ticket.  For example, a red light camera might have caught him at a crossing when he allowed an ambulance to pass, or a funeral procession had the right of way through the red light. But, once the fine has been paid the driver has been denied due process. Ultimately, transferring liability – when fair – will save money for the fleet, plus, increase driver’s accountability. 

The American Transport System estimated the average fleet violation fine is $75. For Spread over thousands of vehicles, this cost suddenly becomes a huge liability

Fleet Managers are always under cost pressure.  The cost of fines and violations are variable and unless controlled can drive up P&L costs. The two most important tenets of an effective Violation Management Progam are (1) identifying high-risk drivers and (2) managing/correcting their behavior

1) Identifying drivers with high-risk behavior

  • Camera-issued violations to fleet vehicles result in glossing over scrutiny of high-risk drivers from a fleet’s attention. If these drivers cause lawsuits or accidents later, it could mean millions of dollars in expense, loss of lives, damage to company reputation (etc.)
  • Transferring liability to the driver (that is accountable) is important since 60% of the time, the liability is transferrable to the driver. Although the vehicle is booked for a violation, it is a driver commits it, and, a violation management program is required. Using an automated fleet-management software to tabulate violations, drivers, causes, costs (etc) can provide insight and enables managers to provide training, incentives (etc.) to correct behavior
  • Using a centralized Cloud-based fleet management system – via a license plate or a transponder – eliminates violations

2) Managing and correcting high-risk behavior via training & penalty 

  • Managing fine payouts, saving money, transferring liability (etc) are goals of a violation management program, but, the larger goal is to prevent such violation, especially since it impacts fleet safety. Some (minor) violations like parking tickets will keep cropping up but mores serious offenses that compromise safety – eg running a red light – shouldn’t be accepted
  • Enforcement with penalties will change driver-behavior since that is the root-cause (speeding ticket, accident, camera image). A training program for drivers should use available historical data to help improve behavior
  • An efficient – and, fair – violation management program will also get buy-in from drivers. If they must trust that their opinion is heard, and, that they aren’t punished unfairly or for violations they had no control over they will become open to such systems

UAE: Traffic Violations, Methods Of Payment in Dubai & Abu Dhabi 

A) Dubai: Road Tolls, Fines, Payment options.

Due to mindful and stringent law enforcement by the Dubai government, Dubai is among the safest places globally. Credit is also due to the government for simplifying regulations as much as possible and a citizen can check fines in Dubai online anytime. It quickens collection, saves time and money, and is a lot more efficient.

If you have (or, acquire) a Dubai driving license, you must learn to check for fines online. In general, you would do well to apply this to all rules of compliance and not just penalties related to traffic rules. This can often create confusion but staying aware of procedures helps in avoiding mistakes and also dealing with them suitably. 

In recent times, the government has attempted to simplify the process of checking fines and paying them. Some methods are listed below:

1) Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) Website: They oversee transportation in Dubai, and the RTA website and app give you information on fines registered against your vehicle via license or fine number, plate details, traffic file number. You can pay online

2) Dubai Police Website: The RTA and Dubai Police work collaboratively and have adopted technology via Smart Police Stations. The Dubai Police website has also been upgraded to facilitate inquiries about fines or Black Points and reports are emailed. You can check and pay fines here. Online inquiries are free. Hard copies are charged at AED5

3) Ministry of Interior Website: several ways to check and pay fines in Dubai on the website via Smart Application, Website and Interactive, Site Self-Service Kiosk (In-person), Service Centres

B) Abu Dhabi: Road Tolls, Fines, Payment Options

In October 2019, Abu Dhabi launched new road tolls. Four tollgates were placed at bridges in its capital in an effort to discourage people from driving and encouraging them to use more eco-friendly options like public transport, car-pooling, electric cars, etc. 

1) New road toll: A cashless road toll, similar to Dubai’s Salik system where drivers are charged whenever they pass through mandated spots.

2) Tollgate locations: The tollgates are located at bridges Sheikh Khalifa, Mussaffah, Sheikh Zayed, and Al Maqta.

3) Toll-cost: A charge of Dh4 during peak periods. An off peak fee of Dh2 during other times and remaining days

4) Toll operation: Vehicle registration will incur a fee of Dh100 – Dh50 fee. Toll fees can be paid via e-wallet. Users receive a confirmatory text message on the registered mobile number.

5) Penalties for not registering: Those with insufficient credit are allowed 5 working days to replenish their e-wallets and also a grace of 10 working days. After that, unregistered vehicles using tollgates will incur fines of Dh100 for day1, Dh200 for day2, upto a maximum of Dh10,000. For vehicles registered outside Abu Dhabi, fines for crossing tollgates with inadequate funds will be Dh50 per day.

6) Maximum daily fine: A maximum of Dh16 per day, regardless of number of times tollgates are used.

7) Can I use the “Salik” tag to pay? No. The toll charging-systems of Abu Dhabi and Dubai operate independently. Vehicles registered in Abu Dhabi will be registered in their online system.

8) Exemptions: Ambulances, defense, armed forces, police, Ministry of Interior, authorised school-buses, public buses, passenger buses (26 people), licensed taxis, electric vehicles.

Fleet Management Software: streamline your violation management process

Using a centralized Cloud-based server and a modern GPS enabled Fleet Management System to manage this process enables Fleet Managers to manage and contest appeals, upload information, avoid escalation charges, and, set timelines for appeal processes. Importantly, it helps avoid future mistakes by identifying dangerous spots. It also maintains detailed data for Fleet Managers to gain insight for constant improvement. 

Conclusion:  For Fleet Managers, it is imperative to design and implement an effective – and just – Traffic Violation Management Program by solving the problem at its roots i.e. by identifying high-risk drivers and rectifying their behavior. Using a dedicated modern Fleet Management System is the way to go.

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