How will the new zero-tolerance drunk driving law affect your car insurance?

Al Rowaad Advocates & Legal Consultants | View firm profile

You might have come across the recent changes in the UAE federal laws that has relaxed the previous rules which imposed strict license requirements for the purchase of alcohol in the region. Albeit such rules have now been removed, however, the UAE still follows and applies zero tolerance when it comes to alcohol consumption while driving.  This essentially means that, there is not concept of minimum blood alcohol limit in the UAE, meaning that there is a zero-tolerance policy and thus, despite the level of blood alcohol a person may have while driving he can be liable for a fine and jail term.

Drunk driving:

It is crucial to understand that, the UAE has many strict and rigorous laws in place especially when it comes to public safety. Pursuant to the Federal Law number 21 of 1995 concerning ‘traffic’ and its amendments (“Traffic Law”), driving in UAE under the influence of alcohol or any other anesthetic or narcotic substances is punishable by the law.

Pursuant to Article 49 (6) of the traffic law, ‘Driving or attempting to driving a vehicle on the road while under the effect of alcoholic drinks or anesthetic substances and the like, shall be sentenced to imprisonment and / or to a minimum fine of Twenty- Five Thousand Dirhams’.

This fine amount can go higher as well depending on the veracity of the offence and the resultant damages caused. Such penalty will be adjudged by the Court and applies in instances of:

  • Driving under the influence of Alcohol
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or brain affecting substances or any other similar items
  • Causing someone’s death
  • Causing a serious accident or injuries

Further, pursuant to article 59(3) of the traffic law immediate arrest will follow. The said article states, A policeman may arrest any vehicle driver if found involved in the commitment of one of the following crimes including ‘Driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any other narcotic or the like, thus depriving him of his power of control over it’.

How it affects your insurance:

Insurers have the right to refuse to pay accident claims if the driver’s blood-alcohol level is positive. A mandatory part of raising any vehicle insurance claims requires to provide a police certificate describing how the accident occurred and the cause of the accident and the resultant damages. When the cause of the accident is due to the fault of the driver due to drunken driving then the same can be used to reject the insurance claim in itself.

Black points are also directly imposed on the driver’s license for the most serious of traffic offences including drunken driving. The maximum number of black points that can be accumulated on your driving license is 24, and fines are imposed for each such violation. If the number of back points acquired on a license reach 24 in number, then the license can be confiscated for a period of six months, and the driver will be required to attend further corrective courses in driving. Acquiring a number of black points on your license can also potentially cost you more on your car insurance. With more back points acquired for traffic violations, you will need to pay a higher premium on a car insurance policy.

The traffic regulations in the UAE are thus extremely strict in order to ensure protection of road users and to reduce traffic casualties. The traffic laws are regularly amended to bring in innovative changes as the UAE aims to achieve its aim of reducing traffic causalities from every 6 per 100,000 people to every 3 per 100,000 people by this year.

More from Al Rowaad Advocates & Legal Consultants