Dhaka, Bangladesh
Road transport act implementation

Road transport act implementation

After much delay, the Road Transport Act-2018 finally came into effect on November 18 and already a number of problems cropped up. Enforcing the Act with stringent punishment for traffic offences or violations seems to face some stiff challenges. The authorities solely relied on this law to reduce deaths on roads and ensure traffic discipline without addressing the problems in road engineering and traffic training. Inadequate infrastructure, logistics and human resource crunch still stand as roadblocks to the full implementation of the Act. The transport associations have already demanded the repeal of several sections of the Act. Besides, there are some more fundamental problems that need to be resolved before the police and mobile courts can implement the Act properly. There are about 42 lakh registered vehicles in the country and the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) issued only 23 lakh driving licences. Under the new law, drivers without licences will be sentenced to six months in jail or fined TK25,000 or both. The government will have to bring those drivers without licence to the licencing process immediately but it takes a long time to complete the process. There are some 10-12 lakh unregistered battery and engine-run three-wheelers and other vehicles countrywide. According to experts, these vehicles are largely responsible for frequent road accidents. Questions, therefore, remain as to how the authorities will get the unregistered vehicles registered. The BRTA currently issues around six lakh annual fitness certificates only. Unless both manpower and infrastructures are increased, it will take a long time to regularise the paperwork for the existing vehicles plying the roads and streets of Dhaka and the highways. According to a report, about four lakh registered vehicles are on the roads without fitness certificates. But the BRTA has only 109 vehicle inspectors against a demand for around 1,000 and there is only one vehicle inspection centre at Mirpur in the city which cannot cope with the problem. Dhaka does not have adequate parking spaces. But the Act does not allow loading and unloading of goods or even pick up and drop off passengers at any place not designated for the purposes. None of these factors were taken into consideration before the implementation of the law. No extensive awareness campaigns were launched before implementing the law. However, we applaud the authorities for the law as it applies to drivers, pedestrians and all road- users. We expect that it will not be open to misuse for any loopholes which might be amended in due course. We must make sure that the law is applied to all and we must have trust in the law.

Share |