Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader today said mass awareness campaign will be continued across the country for a week and asked the authorities concerned not to file any case during the time under the new Road and Transport Act that went into effect yesterday.
“We are engaged in conducting a massive awareness campaign across the country to bring back discipline on the roads. And thus, no one can file any case under the new law,” Quader said today.
Quader, also general secretary of the ruling Awami League, came up with the instruction while talking to reporters after visiting the activities of a mobile court on Dhaka-Chattogram Highway in Signboard area of Narayanganj.
The mobile court of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority was carrying out efforts to enforce the much-talked-Road Transport Act 2018.
Responding to a query, Quader said discipline is still lacking in the public transport sector, which is the matter of concern of happening road accident and creating traffic congestion.
“We are going to enforce the act strictly as we believe that discipline must return back in the road and transport sector enforcing the new law,” the minister said.
Claiming that awareness is a must alongside enforcement of the law, Quader sought supports from all people to face the challenge of bringing back discipline on the roads and highways.
WHAT THE LAW SAYS
On October 22, the Road Transport and Highways Division issued a gazette, stating that the Road Transport Act (RTA) would be effective from today. Parliament had passed the RTA in September last year, replacing the Motor Vehicle Ordinance, 1983.
According to section 105 of the new act, if anybody gets seriously injured or killed in a motor vehicle-related accident, it would be considered an offence under the relevant sections of the Penal Code-1860.
However, no matter what section 304(B) of the Penal Code contains, if anybody causes accident by reckless and negligent driving, and kills or injures someone severely, the person will face a maximum sentence of five years in jail or fine or both, reads section 105 of the RTA.
The offences that fall under section 105 are not bailable.
The maximum punishment under section 302 of the Penal Code is the death penalty while it is life imprisonment under section 304(B).
The law also hands hefty fines for violation of traffic rules.
For driving without a licence, the maximum penalty is six months in jail or a fine of Tk 25,000 or both. It is same for running unfit vehicles.
The maximum punishment for driving vehicles without registration is six months’ jail sentence or Tk 50,000 in fine or both. The highest punishment for honking banned horns is three months’ jail term or Tk 10,000 fine or both.
The law says the maximum punishment for illegally modifying vehicles’ body parts is three years’ jail sentence or Tk 3,00,000 fine or both.
According to the previous law, the maximum punishment for driving without licence was four months’ jail or Tk 500 fine or both. For driving vehicle without registration, the punishment was 3 months’ jail or Tk 2,000 fine or both (for the first time) while for running unfit vehicles the punishment was three months in jail or Tk 2,000 fine or both.
Talking to reporters yesterday, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said the new law was enacted to bring discipline on roads and highways across the country.
“Our main target is to bring discipline on roads … it’s our challenge,” he said after visiting an under-construction flyover at Shafipur on Dhaka-Tangail highway.