The cabinet on Monday approved the draft ‘Road Transport Bill, 2018’ with a provision of maximum five-year jail and fines for rash and negligent driving causing deaths or serious injuries.
Currently as per the Motor Vehicles Ordinance, 1983 the punishment for the same offence is maximum three-year jail and Tk 25 lakh in fines.
‘The Road Transport Bill, 2018 has got the final approval of the cabinet,’ cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told a press briefing after the weekly cabinet meeting at secretariat.
The cabinet’s approval came in the wake of countrywide street protests by students demanding safe roads and justice for two of their fellows killed in a bus accident at Kurmitola in Dhaka on July 29.
The bill with 14 chapters and 124 sections got the final approval after the government had taken the initiative of repealing the 1983 ordinance nine years back.
Detailing the bill, law minister Anisul Huq in a separate briefing said that when MVO was enacted in 1983, deaths or serious injuries for rash and negligent driving had punishment of maximum seven-year jail which was reduced to three years in 1985.
‘Today, in the bill, for rash or negligent driving the punishment has been increased to five years’ jail and fine as
per the gravity of the crime,’ he said.
‘But if it was found in investigation based on information, witness and proof that the accident was not a normal one and the driver intentionally killed someone, the person would be tried under 1860 Penal Code’s section 302 with highest punishment of death sentence and if someone did it unintentionally, the person would be tried under section 304 with highest punishment of life imprisonment,’ he said.
These offences will be non-bailable as per the draft bill’s section 103 which are bailable in existing law.
Asked about reason for enacting a new law, he said it was necessary as MVO was enacted during a martial law period and was written in English and many developments and progresses took place in the road transport sector since 1983.
In the draft the High Court’s observations were taken into consideration, he added.
Road transport and highways division secretary Md Nazrul Islam told New Age that nowhere there was death penalty for violating traffic rules.
In the draft, he said, the amount of both punishment and fines were increased but there was no mention of speedy trial.
There were some new features in the draft, the secretary noted.
For the first time there will be 12 points against a driver’s licence which will be deducted based on the gravity of different offences and if anyone lost all points the licence will be null, which would be reviewed later on.
A new section keeps minimum eighth grade education mandatory for obtaining driving licence.
Another new section says that the government will take initiative for registrations of new or exceptional motor vehicles like electricity-run vehicles.
For tempering meter, maximum six-month jail and Tk 50,000 in fines have been kept.
The draft’s section 59 comprises some general directives in two parts.
The first part bans drunkard transport staff, taking passengers in a running state and carrying goods or passengers on the outer parts of vehicles and the second part makes mandatory reserve seats for women, children and people with disabilities and using seatbelts.
For violation of these directives, the punishments are maximum three-month jail or Tk 10,000 in fines for the first part and for the second part maximum jail term is one month and Tk 5,000 in fines.
Section 53 says a financial assistance fund will be formed to help road accident victims and their families.
For driving without licence, the punishment has been increased to maximum six-month jail and to Tk 25,000 as fines from maximum four-month jail and Tk 500 in fines.
Currently, penalties for driving without registration, route permit and fitness certificates for the first time are maximum three-month jail or Tk 2,000 fine and for the second time maximum four-month jail or Tk 5,000 fines.
In the new bill, punishments have been increased for driving without registration to maximum six-month jail or Tk 50,000 fine, maximum six-month jail or Tk 25,000 fine for driving unfit vehicles and maximum three-month jail or Tk 20,000 fine for driving without route permission.
For vehicle modification, punishment has been increased to maximum three-year and minimum one year jail or Tk 3 lakh fine from two-year jail or Tk 5,000 fine.
For black smoke, the punishment is currently Tk 200, which has been increased to maximum three-month jail and Tk 25,000 fines.
For illegal horns, the punishment is now Tk 100, which has been increased to maximum three-month jail or Tk 10,000 fine.
For wrong lane driving, the penalty is now Tk 200, which has been increased to maximum three-month jail or Tk 10,000.
For violating any traffic law or signal, the penalty is now maximum one month in jail and Tk 500 in fines, which have been increased to maximum three-month jail or Tk 10,000 fines or both.
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