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Dealing with Impounded Cars in UAE

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In the UAE, traffic laws related to road safety as well as the safety of drivers and passengers are strictly reinforced. The Road and Traffic Authority (RTA) impose heavy fines and penalties to discourage traffic violations. Depending on the severity of the violation, some offenses can cost thousands of dirhams, while some can result in the impounding of your vehicle.

Continuing along the latter, there can be multiple reasons why your vehicle gets impounded. Regardless of the reason, car owners would be required to complete a couple of steps to recover their cars. In this article, we will walk you through the process of recovering your vehicle from the impound lot and the details related to the process.

What is Car Impound in UAE?

Traffic violations in UAE or late payments of traffic fines may result in the impounding of your vehicle. These confiscated vehicles are locked at the impounded lot until the owner pays the penalties. In case the vehicle owner does not respond to the request to settle the debt, the vehicle will be auctioned and anyone living in the UAE would be able to bid and purchase it.

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Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) Sharjah Transfer Car Registration
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Traffic Violations for Car Impound in the UAE

Let's have a glance at some common traffic violations that can lead to car impound in the UAE without further ado –  

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Driving Violations Leading to Car Impound

  • Exceeding the stated speed limit
  • Driving a car without valid insurance
  • Driving a car under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Taxis stopping in undesignated areas
  • Driving a vehicle without a valid registration card or Mulkiya
  • Driving in a way that damages or harms private and public properties
  • Failure to stop at the red light
  • Driving a car without a valid driving licence
  • Driving the vehicle in a direction opposite to the lane
  • Driving an unauthorized or unlicensed vehicle
  • Driving a car with expired tires
  • Dangerous and reckless driving

Vehicle Design Violations Leading to Car Impound

  • Using a vehicle without a number plate
  • Unauthorized modification of the vehicle’s engine or chassis
  • Not adhering to the rules of using commercial vehicle plate numbers
  • Three-wheeled or more leisure bikes

Driver Behaviour Leading to Car Impound

  • Trying to evade traffic police personnel
  • Street racing
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Accident Violations Leading to Car Impound

  • Resulting in severe injury or accident
  • Resulting in someone’s death
  • Attempting to flee from the accident scene

Illegal Usage of Car Leading to Car Impound

  • Using personal vehicles for public transportation
  • Transporting hazardous or inflammable material without permission
  • Overloading transport vehicle
  • Marching without consent in a car

What Happens to the Impounded Car in the UAE?

As per traffic violation laws, vehicles are seized for 7-90 days in the impounded lot, with the traffic police of the respected state not being responsible for any damage incurred to the impounded vehicle. Apart from the violated fines, the vehicle owner would have to pay the impound yard fees to release the seized vehicle. Additional charges will apply if the car is not released within the stipulated timeframe.

Smart Impounding: Impounded at Home

Car owners mainly have two options concerning the impounding of their vehicles –

  • Traffic police designated impounded yard
  • At the owner's home or his parking lot

A smart impound system in Abu Dubai, Sharjah, and Dubai has been introduced to avoid overcrowding in the impounded lot. Smart impounding allows car owners to have their vehicles impounded at their own parking lot instead of having them at the police-designated impounded yards.  

The procedure of Smart Impound System

Follow the given steps to keep your car impounded at your place –

  • Head to the official website of the traffic authority (Dubai, Sharjah, or Abu Dhabi, depending on your location) or its application
  • Settle the traffic fines and pay the fees for the smart impound system
  • Choose a date to visit the traffic department to install the Global Positing System (GPS) in your vehicle

This technology would help the Police track the car's location. Whenever the car moves, a notification will be sent to the traffic police command room.

  • A team of technicians will visit your car's location and the device will be fitted
  • After installing the device, the smart system will be activated
  • Following the installation of the device, the smart impound system would give the green light to the impounded vehicle

The light would turn red if the car moves, in which case the Police would also be notified. Moreover, the car owner will receive a text message alerting them of the violation, traffic fine, and the impounding of their vehicle by traffic police

  • Once you settle the fines and the impounding time is finished, you can contact the traffic department to remove the device

Impounding Period

Generally, vehicles are impounded for a period of 7 to 60 days. Keep in mind that if you are driving your car without a valid number plate, your vehicle will be impounded for 90 days.

How to Get Your Car Out of Impound in the UAE?

Whether your car is impounded at the police impound yard or your home, you can follow the given steps to retrieve your vehicle out of impound –

  • Head to the traffic police's official website
  • Pay the fines
  • Once the fines are settled, pay the car impound fee
  • Release the car

Relevant Paperwork to Retrieve the Car

To get your car out of the impounded lot, submit these documents to the traffic police –

  • Copy of the owner’s Emirates ID
  • Copy of car registration card or Mulkiya
  • Vehicle data from traffic services
  • Copy of driving licence
  • Copy of car insurance document
  • Applicable fees (release fee from the impounded lot, late fee, and so on)

Note: The documentation requirements differ from one emirate to the other

Charges Associated with Vehicle Impounding

Besides the traffic fines, the vehicle owner would be required to pay specific fees during the impoundment period – a

Impound Yard Fees

Vehicle release certificates for impounded vehicles are subject to a fee of AED 100. If the owner fails to retrieve the vehicle within the impounding period, they would need to submit AED 50 as storage fees (provided it does not exceed AED 3,000).

Smart Impound Fees

Here are the service charges for smart impound –

  • For the first month, AED 500 will be charged
  • For each additional month, AED 100 will apply

There will be AED 50 penalty starting on the 8th day following the end of the impoundment period.

Can I Get a Waiver from Impoundment?

If you want to remove your car from the impounding lot during the impoundment period, you can pay a certain amount against the impoundment waiver. Please note that each emirate's police authority would determine the amount here.

For instance, in Abu Dhabi, a car owner would need to pay AED 50,000 to release their impounded vehicle with other fines.

Have a look at what people are asking about car impound in UAE –

FAQs

Q1. What happens if I move a car under a 'smart impound system?

Ans: The smart impound order could be re-imposed on the violator if the vehicle is moved under any circumstances. Here, the vehicle can be impounded at the impound yard or the impound period can be replaced with a specified amount.

Q2. What is impounded car auction in the UAE?

If the vehicle owner doesn't pay the fines and take the vehicle, the traffic authorities of the Emirates can put up the vehicle for auction.

Q3. Will I get any warning if I don't pay the fines during an impounding period?

Ans: The traffic authorities will first warn about the impounding of the car, and the vehicle will be auctioned if the owner does not respond for 15 days. Regardless of whether the fines have been cleared, all vehicle owners are required to acknowledge and discuss the warning with authorities.

Q4. Should I return the smart impound device?

Ans: All vehicle owners are required to return the smart impound device to the Traffic and Licensing Services Centre after the impounding period ends and all traffic fines are paid.

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