Banned Substances


DUI or ‘Driving Under the Influence’ refers to the act of operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol or other drugs. Driving under the influence (above a defined limit)  is a criminal offense in most countries, and in line with UAE’s culture and heritage, there is a zero-tolerance policy in place regarding driving under the influence (0.0% defined limit!); it is an act punishable by the UAE’s law.

According to Dubai Police data, DUI is amongst the top 3 causes of accidents!

Traffic prosecutors spare no effort to prosecute violators based on a strict zero-tolerance policy to driving. Unlike other places, the UAE does not have a legal blood-alcohol limit and hence the only acceptable amount of alcohol in the body is zero.

Offenders can be taken into custody for up to 48 hours and the driver will be required to give blood and urine samples to see if there are traces of any intoxicants. He is then referred to the public prosecution, which will examine the driver’s criminal history and demand a penalty from the courts according to the severity of the crime.

The traffic law stipulates that driving under the influence will face a jail term between one month and three years and/or a fine varying between Dh20,000 and Dh30,000. The offender also faces 24 black points on his or her driving license, confiscation of the vehicle for two months (60 days) and possible deportation (for expatriates). Offenders have to take a road safety course before being allowed back on the road.

If a driver under the influence is involved in an accident, the insurance will be null and void (even if he or she did not cause the accident).

How to do it right:

If a driver knows to be unable to operate a vehicle, either by consuming (any amount!) of alcohol or mood altering medication, the driver under the influence must stay away from driving – for his own safety and also the safety of others – do not drive under the influence!

  • Don’t use medication which can influence you negatively
  • Prescribed medicines should be checked with a doctor or pharmacist
  • Watch out for medication, which might possible be prohibited in the UAE.

If you intend to drink, you must plan properly:

  • Drink responsibly and do not over drink (this can land you in trouble for other reasons!)
  • Take a taxi or a chauffeur driven cab (like Careem) after you drank; ideally take it to and from your destination.
  • Nominate one person to be the driver, and this person adheres to the zero-tolerance policy
  • Alternatively, you can drive your own car to the venue and at the end of the evening have a professional driver take you (and your car) home.  There are a couple of licensed companies, who offer this service at very reasonable rates.

Watch out for this:

  • There is NO justification for driving under the influence!
  • Be super-aware of UAE’s zero-tolerance policy!
  • Do not take any risk!!

Great article about prohibited medication while driving:

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