Have you ever seen a car drive past you at 200 mph? If you’re from Dubai, the answer is yes.
When you imagine car culture in the Arab world, you might picture dudes drifting exotic cars in the desert. Maybe you remember MIA surfing a BMW in “Bad Girls.” Up on its side, while she’s lazily rhyming at the camera, the car under her slices along the desert highway balanced on just two wheels. The vid was cool like a Steve McQueen movie. Now, imagine what it’s like living in a country where that insane car culture exists every day. Welcome to the United Arab Emirates.
As the locals, travel guides and lists of “deadliest places to drive” are all quick to point out: the United Arab Emirates has a serious problem with speed. It’s not like a Breaking Bad problem with speed. It’s more like, every day two people die in fatal car accidents - that kind of problem with speed. Tasked with making the roads safe, the police in Dubai (UAE’s biggest city) did what any reasonable, responsible, law enforcement agency would do. They bought themselves a Ferrari.
In fact, the Dubai Police have purchased a whole fleet of high performance sports cars. The tiny gulf nation of UAE is blessed with prosperity thanks to vast oil deposits. The country has money like China has people. As a result of its booming economy, the nation’s roads are dangerously swollen with an international mix of people who’ve come to build the skyscrapers and shopping malls.
With so many foreigners there’s a toxic mix of driving cultures. Not to mention, the local driving culture is speed-obsessed; this is partly a result of the area’s historic love of horse racing. They like to go fast. Thanks to the free-flowing oil wealth, the freeways of Dubai and Abu Dhabi are like rolling showcases for high-performance sports cars from all around the world. On any given day you’re likely to see million-dollar Lamborghinis and Bugattis zoom past you.
Peep this video of a group super cars racing through normal traffic at around 170/180 mph. (At ~1:30 watch how they blow past other cars on the freeway like they’re parked.)
Obviously, young dudes in super-charged sports cars weaving and swerving through everyday traffic is a recipe for vehicular manslaughter. As it’s been reported locally, more than 90 percent of traffic accidents in the UAE were caused by male drivers. And 61 percent of those drivers were between the ages of 26 and 38. This is a “young men driving too fast” problem.
The decision to buy a fleet of super fast exotic cars may seem extreme, but it makes perfect sense from a law enforcement perspective. If you want to stop reckless drivers in cars that can go 200 mph, you have to be able to catch them. You’re not gonna do that in some standard issue police cruiser. That’s why the Dubai cops now have, what has to be, the fastest, most expensive police garage of any city in the world.
Dubai cops have a Lamborghini with a top speed of 217 mph. (If you wanna see what it’s like to drive a Lamborghini at 200 mph in freeway traffic … it looks a lot like this dude making beautiful use of The Autobahn.)
The Dubai police have a McClaren MP4-12C. It does 0-60 in 3.3 seconds. Not bad for a cop car.
What if you day job was driving a Ferrari FF with a top speed of 208 mph? Pretty good gig, right?
They also have an Audi R8. For the cop who likes tight handling. And who doesn’t?
For a comfortable drive at high speeds there’s the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. It rolls smoother than ball bearings down a sheet of silk.
Or for a more gut-churning ride you could patrol the streets in a Bugatti 16.4 Veyron. Kinda ridic.
But, they also have a Bentley Continental GT. You know for a squad car.
…and last but far from least is their million dollar beauty, the Aston Martin One-77.
If you wonder if they buy American cars, the answer is: yes. The Dubai police also have a Ford Mustang GT and Chevrolet Camaro SS (because they don’t care about gas prices).
And you know what the craziest part is? Putting cops on the freeways in high performance sports cars worked. In the last three years, traffic accidents have fallen by 23.5 percent.
Patrolling the streets in million dollar sports cars, the Dubai police can catch anyone who runs. In one month, the Dubai police issued approximately 67,000 traffic fines. Of those, roughly a third of them (or 20,114 to be exact), were for speeding. And around 15 percent of those caught speeding were driving faster than 200 kilometers/hour (or for Americans that’s 125 mph).
Another part of their safe driving crackdown, UAE legislators enacted new laws that make driving faster than 200 kph a crime punishable by two years in prison. To give you a sense of how many people drive that fast in the UAE, from January to August of last year, in Abu Dhabi, there were 2,534 vehicles impounded for exceeding 200 kph.
Interesting side note about their driving culture and how insanely dangerous it is: nearly 2,000 of the traffic stops, from a one month period, were for “reckless backwards driving.” That means they were likely speeding as fast if not faster than freeway traffic, but in reverse.
It may seem kinda silly that the Dubai police have a Facebook page and Twitter account to hype the world’s sickest fleet of cop cars. But they really do need all that speed. Even if, yes, they do like to show them off a bit.