Using your cellphone while driving in the United Arab Emirates is against the law, but if the city’s Traffic Happiness Patrol catch you, they will simply issue a warning with a notice that reads “your safety concerns us.” If you are believed to be driving in a safe manner, however, the patrol can reward you with up to AED 200.
Arafa recounted that after he glanced at his phone, the patrol stopped him and asked for his license and car registration. He then realized he had left his registration papers at home.
After verifying his information, the officer listed Arafa’s violations, but instead of collecting the fine, he told him “not to do it again” and that he wouldn’t be penalized because “this is the Happiness Patrol.” Instead of a fine, Arafa received a yellow voucher that declares “your safety concerns us,” as described in Arafa’s post.
Arafa, an editorial cartoonist, author, and positive psychology researcher, added, “Negative reinforcement is a way to teach and shape desired behavior by lifting punishment.”
The patrol was launched in October, coinciding with Abu Dhabi government’s golden anniversary celebrations. The patrol’s main aim isn’t to punish bad behavior but to motivate good conduct.
“The Happiness Patrol reflects the vision and aspiration of our wise leadership, to make the UAE a global hub of happiness and positivity,” Commander-in-Chief of Abu Dhabi Police, Major General Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi, told Gulf News.