UAE: Dubai Road Stunt Enrages Bloggers

Bloggers in the UAE are outraged after a video was posted on YouTube showing young men driving in a reckless manner in broad daylight on one of Dubai's busiest streets.

In the video, which has since been “removed (from YouTube) due to terms of use violation,” a ‘gang’ of young men are seen cheering on reckless drivers, meandering though rush hour traffic at full speed, doing ‘doughnuts’ and wheelies. One 4×4 is seen being driven on two wheels for a stretch of the road, being cut off by a pick up truck spinning like a top on the highway.

A new video surfaced, with the same clip, and can be found here.

Readers wrote in angry letters to The National, a UAE daily, which broke the story. One reader, Rashid alfalasi, from Abu Dhabi, blames the lack of an arena for those young men to show off their stunts for the incident:

I think if those kids were allowed to do their stunts in special places
like what it is done in Qatar. They won't do these stunts in main roads
and put others lives in danger. In Qatar they have a special circuit
where young drivers can go and do their stunts with safety measurements
with police and ambulance presence and they are opened every weekend
and on special events like eid holidays and soccer team winning a title

Tim Craig, another reader from Abu Dhabi, posts:

These are the future leaders of the UAE. So, What direction are the Emirates headed for ?

If you value your life, DONT DRIVE to DUBAI. It is worse than you can
imgine and the locals are having fun laughing at the danger and fear
that they inflict on innocent good people.

Moving on to blogs, Grace, who blogs at Sandier Pastures, adds her two cents:

I’ve written my dislike for driving in Dubai roads before, in dealing
with mental drivers who sadly are aplenty. Now the news today took this
dislike to a whole new level. A video had been posted in YouTube
showing young drivers performing road stunts on Dubai’s main SEVEN LANE
highway, Sheikh Zayed Road. A pick up truck intentionally spins and
skids across the road while a 4×4 zigzags across six lanes of traffic
(cars running at 100kmh) balanced on ONLY TWO WHEELS. This isn’t a show.

She continues:

The images are shocking to say the least and without an arrest as of
this writing everyone knows the nationality of these reckless drivers.
Where are they now? Somewhere in Dubai waiting to kill people! See the
whole .. maddening story via The National.

Driver of those two vehicles: you stupid, incredibly selfish, bored, spoiled twat!

Seabee, who blogs at Life in Dubai, describes the stunt as “life threatening lunacy.”

He further adds:

There's a new film on YouTube showing innocent motorists’ lives being endangered by a bunch of brainless morons.

Seabee posts a number of stills from the video, including the one below, which shows a man dangling out of the window of his 4×4 and another 4×4 being driven on two wheels along the six-lane highway, in traffic!

Dubai driving stunts outrage bloggers

Like many bloggers, he wonders:

Dubai Police are efficient enough to identify the Eastern European ram-raid gang and to get massive amounts
of information on the hit squad that assassinated Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

Identifying the idiots in the clip should take the police about five minutes.

Deliberately putting other people's lives at risk like this deserves a lifetime driving ban, a lifetime ban on owning a vehicle and a lengthy jail term. And I mean lengthy.

The obvious question is whether they'll be arrested. Cynics will doubt it and will talk about wasta (influence)…

Dubai Police were soon on the case, and news reports say that two drivers have been arrested and charged with endangering the lives of others. The National reports that the two Emiratis in their early 20s face up to three years in prison and fines if convicted.

Reacting to the news, Seabee explains:

It's a start, now we'll have to wait to see how justice is applied.

As I said in the earlier posts, I think it deserves nothing less than a
life ban on owning or driving vehicles plus a lengthy jail term for
deliberately endangering life.

But I don't for one moment think that's going to happen.

And apart from the the drivers doing the stunts there was a convoy of
hangers-on accompanying them, cheering them on and filming them. They
need to be arrested too, charged with aiding and abetting the offences.

What the eventual outcome will
demonstrate is just how serious the authorities are about stamping down
on dangerous, irresponsible driving and in promoting road safety.

So far it seems to have been a half-hearted campaign without much
success, a couple of weeks emphasis here and there on specific things
such as tailgating, child seats or mobile phone use. I've seen no
reduction in any of those offences, in fact with mobile phone use it
seems to me to be on the increase.

So this will be an interesting one to follow because it's such a serious, deliberate
flouting of the laws that could have had disastrous consequences for
innocent drivers caught up in the lunacy.

And Fake Plastic Souks adds a new dimension to the controversy – that of blocking sites in the UAE. Alexander McNabb reports:

It would appear that the UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Or TRA to you an’ me) has blocked YouTube's age verification screen.

The problem was highlighted on Twitter yesterday when a link to the now infamous ‘Sheikh Zayed Road Madness’ video was shared – the link came back with the blocked splash screen on both Etisalat and Du networks. A good link is, BTW, here.

Although the first assumption is that the block was because of the nature of the content, which is a group of nutters endangering the lives of motorists on Dubai's busiest road by pulling doughnuts and the like, this was not in fact the case

So what really happened? According to the blogger:

What had happened was the video had been flagged for age restriction (you can't actually tag a video with an age limit on YouTube when you post it, it has to be ‘flagged’ and a YouTube staffer will review and age restrict the video) and therefore viewers were sent to the YouTube Age Verification Page.

And THAT is the bit that had been blocked. One can only assume that ‘if you need to be asked, the answer's no’ is the policy in place here.

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