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Sunday, January 17, 2021
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Abu Dhabi urges commercial drivers to belt up and stay off mobiles

VAST uses high technology to catch violators, complementing DARB

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Most drivers, commercial and private, will be aware of Abu Dhabi’s new DARB system: from 2 January, it’s been activated during peak times on the four bridges leading into Abu Dhabi, with AED4 charged for each crossing, up to a maximum daily fee of AED16 per vehicle.

A second system just announced by the Abu Dhabi authorities also means that form 1 January  the emirate has activated radars all across the city to spot and caution motorists who are not putting on seat belts and using mobile phones while driving. The system is called VAST (Vehicular Attention and Safety Tracker).

The ‘VAST’ technology aims to preserve the safety of drivers, passengers and all road users, as well as raising awareness and educating the community on the importance of following safe driving habits.

The radar, developed by Abu Dhabi Police, captures high-resolution images under a variety of conditions via artificial intelligence cameras, which provide ‘smart’ analysis of images and rapidly detect seat belt and mobile phone violations. Offending drivers will receive an SMS notification of the violation, insisting they rectify their behaviour immediately.

Mohamed Abdelhameed Al Askar, Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, said: “This cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Police comes as part of ADDA’s efforts to utilise accurate data analysis and benefit from the latest technologies to enable a digital government that is proactive, personalised, collaborative and secure.”

The ‘VAST’ system was implemented in five phases: Camera and Edge Devices, Image Review Module, SMS Notification, Performance Dashboard, and Model Retraining. The result is a virtually error-free mechanism providing comprehensive coverage of Abu Dhabi highways. Authorities emphasize that it applies to everyone, commercial and private drivers alike, and there will be no excuses accepted for using mobiles while driving, or failing to belt up.

Note: if you are driving in Abu Dhabi and haven’t registered your vehicle for DARB as yet, passing through a toll gate without registering the vehicle in the system incurs a fine of AED 100 for the first day, AED 200 for the second day, and AED 400 for the third day and so on, up to a maximum of AED 25,000. If your vehicle is registered outside Abu Dhabi, passing through a tollgate without sufficient balance in your account will incur a fine of AED 50 per day.

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