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25 March, 2019 12:40:21 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 25 March, 2019 11:13:33 AM
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No specific data on unfit vehicles, errant drivers

DRIVE AGAINST TRAFFIC VIOLATORS
FAISAL MAHMUD and SAUGATA BASU
No specific data on unfit vehicles, errant drivers

Establishing traffic discipline still seems to be a daunting task as unfit vehicles and drivers without licenses continue to rule the roads across the country. Though the Traffic Division of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) claims to remain extra vigilant on roads since the student led-protest for road safety in last August, it has failed to provide data on punitive measures taken against license-less drivers and unfit vehicles.

Road safety experts have long been terming these as the primary causes behind the northward trend of the number of roads accidents in the country. Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) data shows that there are over 38 lakh vehicles in the country. Among them, over five lakh do not have any updated fitness certificate issued by the transport regulator. Also, the number of driving licenses issued is 22 lakh, which means nearly half of the drivers do not have licenses.

According to DMP data, the traffic divisions had filed 48,308 cases and fined over Tk 241,000,00 since March 17–23 in the recently finished traffic week.

While the Traffic Division of the DMP maintains category-wise data on the number of cases filed, its record books do not have any data on how many cases were filed against license-less drivers or unfit vehicles.

The Independent contacted a number of officials from both the Traffic Division, and DMP headquarters but they could not explain why data on those two categories was not being maintained.

Mofiz Uddin Ahmed, joint commissioner of Traffic Division (South) of the DMP, told The Independent that they do not actually have data on those two categories. “Our officials filed cases against rule-breaking vehicles or drivers on the roads. We accumulate the data in the headquarters,” he said.

He added that though the Traffic Division-approved chart has eight types of categories, it does not actually have any ‘specific category’ for the license-less drivers or unfit vehicles. The eight categories on which the traffic division maintains data are use of hydraulic horns, beacon lights, riding on the other side of the road, DMP stickers, use of tainted glass, cases against motorbikes, seizure of

motorbikes and use of mobile phones while driving.

The Trafiic Division maintains daily data on those categories under four administrative divisions of Dhaka North, South, East and West. For example, on March 24, a total of 44 cases were filed in Dhaka East for using hydraulic horns in the vehicles.

The same day, a total of 1,236 cases were filed in four administrative divisions against drivers who drove on the wrong side of the road.

When asked, Mofiz said since the Traffic Division has records of all the cases, so, if needed, it can find out data on how many cases were filed against license-less drivers and unfit vehicles.

The Independent contacted an assistant commissioner (AC) of the Traffic Division who looks after data accumulation. Even after multiple attempts, the AC, who preferred to be not named, could not unearth the data on how many cases were filed against license-less drivers and unfit vehicles.

The official told The Independent that the media wing of the DMP might provide data.  

But the AC (media) of DMP, Towasir Babu, said they do not have any data on these categories. “It’s the duty of the traffic divisions to maintain data. We just have the responsibility of disbursing it to the interested parties,” he added.

Prof. Shamsul Haque, former director of the Accident Research Institute (ARI) of BUET, told The Independent that it is obviously the traffic divisions’ failure that they do not maintain ‘readily available’ data on the punitive measures taken against license-less drivers and unfit vehicles.

“The Traffic Division of the DMP is the enforcer of traffic rules. It’s their fault if they can’t properly keep their vigilance. But the BRTA cannot evade the responsibility as they have the authority to issue licence and fitness certificates,” he said.

When contacted, BRTA officials said they do not have the manpower to monitor the road. “It’s the duty of the Traffic Division,” said one official. 

MK

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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