Awatif Mohammad Shoqi Advocates & Legal Consultancy | View firm profile
“Hit-and-run”, as the name suggests, is used to refer to those cases of motor vehicle accidents where, after causing the accident, the offender abandons the scene without informing the relevant authorities or taking the appropriate measures. A hit-and-run accident is considered to be much graver because generally the person causing the accident is required to pay for the damages that he may have caused, whether to a person or property, whereas in a hit-and-run, the person may just drive away due to fear of getting caught.
The federal law on traffic in the UAE, Law No. 21 of 1995 Concerning Traffic, is a set of comprehensive guidelines for all kinds of drivers and vehicles, which needs to be adhered to when moving on the roads of the country. The provisions related to hit-and-run cases are scattered under different articles of the law, but the following FAQs may help you to understand what you need to do in case you cause a road accident.
What should I do if I mistakenly cause an accident in the UAE?
According to Article 5(1) of the UAE Traffic Law, if you caused an accident while driving on the road, you are required to hand over your documents, as well as the documents of the vehicle to the policeman attending the accident. You are also required to assess the damages that may have been caused as a result of the accident, and take all necessary measures to care for the injured.
If there is no policeman in sight, whom should I inform?
In case there is no policeman at the moment to attend the mishap, you must inform the nearest police station within 6 hours at most. Any delay beyond that must be due to a reasonable excuse.
Can I be arrested for the accident?
If the accident resulted in injury to someone, or worse, death of a person, then the police will have the power to arrest you, pursuant to Article 59(1) of the Traffic Law.
What is the minimum penalty if I am convicted of a hit-and-run accident in the UAE?
A hit-and-run case would attract imprisonment, and/or a fine of minimum 25,000 dirhams, depending upon the gravity of the accident. This is as per Article 49(5) of the UAE Traffic Law, which states that in the event that a person who refrains from stopping after causing an accident and injury to others as a result, without reasonable excuse, will be liable to the prescribed penalty.
Will my license be revoked in case I caused an accident?
In addition to the penalty, as per Article 58(1) of the law, your driving license may also be suspended for a specific period, and you will be deprived from obtaining a new license for a further specified period, once suspension has expired. Your vehicle will be confiscated pursuant to Article 60(5) since it was connected with the accident and it will be necessary to exhibit it in the court as evidence.
At all times, cooperate with the police, and always give correct information regarding yourself and your vehicle, if you get involved in an accident, because not doing so may lead to imprisonment of about 3 months, and/or a fine of at least 500 dirhams, as laid down under Article 56 of the UAE Traffic Law. Regardless, one should stay cautious while driving on the road and abide by all the traffic rules, to avoid unnecessary penalties and court procedures.