Explained: Black and white points on your Dubai driving licence


Just like most places in the world, Dubai works with a points and fine system when it comes to handling driving offences. And although the focus is usually placed on the bad drivers that race around on Dubai’s roads, Dubai Police want to make sure that they acknowledge the emirate’s good drivers, too.

The Dubai government has set out an ambitious vision that, by 2020, Dubai’s roads will be accident-free. Before black points were introduced across all emirates back in 2007, there were a reported 1,056 fatalities on the road. Throughout the years, Dubai Police have continued to introduce harsher traffic rules and higher fines for drivers that pose a danger to others on the roads, and thanks to these efforts, last year there were a reported 174 traffic fatalities.

Black points were brought in to combat the reckless driving that was all too common on Dubai’s roads. The maximum amount of points a driver can receive is 24, but once a driver reaches this number or even exceeds it, their licence and vehicle can be suspended for up to a year.

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There are various violations that can result in you getting black points on your licence. Most recently, drivers will now receive a fine of AED 400 and four black points if all the passengers in the car fail to wear a seatbelt, and that goes for a child under four as well. Indeed, children must be in a purpose-built child seat.

For driving a vehicle dangerously in a way that endangers other people’s lives, you’ll receive a fine of AED 2,000, 23 black points and the car will be impounded for 60 days. Even littering on the roads can get drivers six black points and the same rule goes for not stopping for pedestrians on zebra crossings.

Tailgating is one of the top causes for road traffic accidents and is one of the top reasons for drivers to get black points. Although it’s illegal, Dubai Police still had to issue more than 52,000 fines for this back in 2015 and along with the fine, drivers receive four black points. It was even proposed back in 2016 that reckless drivers who tailgate and pose a threat on the roads should spend up to 24 hours in jail.

Reckless driving clearly comes at a cost. And with all the amendments Dubai government are making to traffic laws, expect to keep on seeing fines increase. By July 1, the UAE will see fines double for certain violations. If you are exceeding the speed limit by 60 km/h or more then you will now be slapped with a AED 2,000 fine and 12 black points rather than the previous AED 1,000 fine. And if you use your mobile phone at the wheel then you’ll see the biggest increase. You will receive four black points and be expected to pay AED 800 instead of only paying AED 200 beforehand.

However, Dubai Police do offer the chance for drivers to take a one-day course to reduce their black points – once they’ve paid AED 810 first. If your driving licence is close to exceeding the 24-black point limit then you can sign up for the course. The course promotes safer driving and spreads traffic awareness, and you get eight black points deducted from your licence for taking it.

But like everything else, with the bad comes the good. Back in 2012, Dubai Police introduced a white point system, which rewards good drivers by allowing them to erase any previous minor violations from their record. And white points offer the chance to win other prizes like cash, vouchers, air tickets, or all-expenses-paid Umrah trips.

To gain white points, drivers are assessed on adherence to traffic laws, clean accident records, positive field reports, good behaviour on the roads and an annual assessment of ‘outstanding’ conducted by Emirates Transport at the end of each year. Drivers mustn’t have any traffic violations on their licence like Salik fines, parking fines or any traffic fine in other emirates.

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You can gain a total of 24 white points in a year, but be sure to stay safe all-year round, otherwise the white points for that month won’t count and two white points will then be deducted. And when it comes to the end of the year, you won’t have reached the maximum number, so you are less likely to receive any recognition.

Last year, Dubai Police recognised over 1,800 drivers who had gained white points. And two drivers ended up driving away in a free Nissan car – surely that’s incentive enough to stay safe? The white point system seems to be doing the trick; back in 2015, Dubai saw a reduction in traffic accidents in the first quarter from 69 to 51.

Although the white point system has shown that it makes drivers take safer choices when driving, unlike in the UK, most Dubai insurance companies insure the car rather than the driver. However, it may pay to start driving safely sooner rather than later. Most insurance companies are leaning towards bringing in much more advanced pricing algorithms that would take the driver and the style of driving into account.

That means a driver who has a history of accidents and fines will have to pay a higher premium, meaning it will definitely pay to start driving safer.

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