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2 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 1 November, 2019 11:16:38 PM
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New Road Transport Act

Drivers, police extra cautious on first day

STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka
Drivers, police extra cautious on first day
A driver and another person argue with policemen at Kakrail crossing in the capital yesterday, the first day of the enforcement of the Road Safety Act. In the absence of updated digital POS machine, police could only warn the law breakers instead of taking punitive measures. Star Mail Photo

Abul Hasnat, the driver of a Dhanmondi-based lawyer, is blissfully unaware of the new Road Transport Act, 2018, which came into force yesterday. “To be frank, I didn’t know the act is being implemented from today. I always drive carefully and try not to break any rules. So the new act doesn’t mean much to me,” Abdul confessed when The Independent approached him yesterday at Mirpur Road intersection.

On the other hand, Shagar Khandakar, a motorbike owner who sometimes provides ride-sharing service, is taking no chances.  “I bought an extra helmet last week before the act is implemented. I have seen in a Facebook post that I could be fined up to Tk. 10,000 for not having a helmet for my co-rider,” he said.

Earlier, a co-rider without a helmet would only cost a driver merely Tk. 200. But after the new Act is enforced, the offence will attract a hefty fine of Tk. 10,000.

“I think the fine amount is too much, but I have to laud it nonetheless because it will ensure discipline on the roads,” Shagar added.

Sobhan, a bus driver with Falgun Paribahan, was sceptical about the new Act being able to change Dhaka’s traffic situation much. “You have traffic jam at every point. So, whenever we find an empty road space, we speed up to make up for our lost time. The passengers also want to go to their destinations quickly. Under the circumstances, I don’t know what good the new traffic act will do,” he said.

Mohammd Suruj Ali, a traffic policeman posted at Manik Mia Avenue intersection, however, averred that the new act would ensure discipline on the roads because it has harsher

provisions for violators of traffic rules. “Controlling traffic in Dhaka is not easy. At a busy intersection like Manik Mia Avenue, there is a lot of traffic chaos. As it is Friday, the traffic is relatively less here. So, there is not much traffic chaos here today. The real effect would be understood when the weekdays start,” he said.

Ataur Rahman, a traffic sergeant at Bijoy Sarani, told The Independent that before the new act went into effect, they were taught about the new rules and provisions in special workshops. “We are now armed with stricter provisions against traffic violators. Today, I just stopped a few vehicles who were speeding unnecessarily, and a few bikers who didn’t follow the traffic signals. I also fined a few vehicles. But the real effect of the Act can’t be gauged before some days,” he said.

Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury, secretary general of Jatri Kallyan Samity (Passengers Welfare Association), told The Independent that the new Act with stricter and harsher provisions will be a better tool to control errant drivers. “Unskilled drivers are a major reason behind the lack of road discipline as well as fatal accidents. With the new act in place with the provision of 12 points in the licence, I believe the government has better tools to ensure that the drivers don’t break rules,” he said.

Notably, a driving licence from now on will contain 12 points under the new law. A driver will lose one point for each offence. A driver’s licence will be cancelled if he/she loses all 12 points for committing offences like not using a seat belt, using a mobile phone while driving, driving on the wrong side of the road and racing, reckless driving and misbehaving with passengers, and parking vehicles at the wrong place.

Lauding the new Road Safety Act, Dr Shamsul Haque, a professor of civil engineering at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, said: “The decision to implement Road Transport Act is highly appreciated, as we have been following 36-year old law that has failed to regulate modern transportation systems. “

“But for proper implementation, the government should run a nationwide campaign because people are used to violating traffic rules in Bangladesh,” he added.

He said the government should also focus on developing the traffic system, adding that they did get a lot of time to do that before announcing to implement the new law.

 

 

 

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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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