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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Dubai tourist rents Dh1.3m Lamborghini and racks up Dh175,000 in fines in four hours  

British visitor was caught driving at speeds of up to 230kph on Sheikh Zayed Road in supercar

The tourist broke the speed limit 33 times in three hours. Courtesy Rent a Car

A British tourist ran up Dh175,000 in traffic fines in less than four hours after being caught driving at nearly twice the speed limit in a Lamborghini Huracan on Sheikh Zayed Road.

The driver, 25, broke the speed limit 33 times only hours after he rented the Dh1.3 million car from the Saeed Ali Rent a Car dealership.

Dubai Police records showed the tourist drove between 126kph and 230kph, triggering every radar on his way.

The dealership owners said they received notifications of offences between 2.31am and 6.26am on July 31, the day after he hired it.

He was caught speeding in the supercar 32 times on Sheikh Zayed Road and once on Garn Al Sabkha Road.

Many of the fines were minutes apart and two occurred within 60 seconds.

Faris Iqbal, 26, a partner in the dealership, said the tourist paid Dh6,000 for two days’ hire and left his passport as a ­guarantee.

“We obtained copies of all the violations and immediately submitted a request for a travel ban on the tourist, to which we paid Dh1,200 in fees, but the request was rejected,” Mr Iqbal said.

The fines amounted to Dh70,000 for the 33 offences caught by radar and Dh100,520 to retrieve the car from the police pound.

The tourist, who gave his address as the Five Palm Jumeirah Hotel and Resort, still has the car. The dealership has his passport while a disagreement over payment ­continues.

“We can’t pay this amount should the car be taken into the pound,” Mr Iqbal said.

“It’s still with the tourist, parked at his hotel. I won’t be trying to take it back, because once I do, I know I have to surrender it to police.

“Then who pays the money for the impound? We shouldn’t do so for sure. It’s his fault and he should pay that amount.”

Tourists can leave the UAE even after building up thousands of dirhams in traffic fines because they are issued in the name of the owner. Expatriates’ traffic fines are linked with departure counters at airports across the country to stop them leaving.

Theo Measures, of PureDrive Rental, said dealerships were given little protection if a client racked up speeding fines.

Mr Measures said dealerships should consider carefully whether their customers were tourists or residents, and take into account their age before handing over the keys to expensive vehicles.

He called for a system where rental companies entered the personal details of clients into a Roads and Transport ­Authority or police database, making it easier to track

them down.

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Read more:

Speeding is Dubai's most common traffic violation for 2018 so far

Complete list of UAE traffic offences and penalties

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“Authorities, through such a system, would make it harder for the tourist to leave the country before paying his fines,” Mr Measures said.

Hassan Elhais, a legal consultant from Al Rowaad Advocates, said it was possible to apply for a travel ban in such instances, but tourists would have time to leave the country while this process took place.

“The dealership owner can file a case to have a travel ban imposed on the tourist and that may take time, during which the tourist may and can leave,” Mr Elhais said.

But he said the dealership owners would be able to file a civil law suit against him.

“Once a ruling in their favour is issued, they can request the ruling be carried out by the country of the tourist,” Mr Elhais said.

He said the UAE and UK have a treaty on judicial assistance, so the owners of the dealership could file for the ruling to be carried out in UK once issued. But the costs could be ­prohibitive.

“We have filed a civil case before in a similar incident two years ago,” Mr Iqbal said. “The fees are not small. For this case it’s going to be 6 per cent, which is nearly Dh15,000, so how are we benefiting from this?”

Mr Iqbal has contacted the British embassy to inform them of the incident.

“I was fearing that he may go to his embassy claiming that he lost his passport to get a new one then leave the country,” he said. “But even if he did not, I can’t keep his passport with me for long.”

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