RSTA recommends tougher measures

In the first six months of this year there were 1,351 cases of unlicensed driving and 1,101 cases of driving under the influence (DUI) as part of traffic violations reported by the traffic police according to the Annual Road Safety Report 2016-17.

Therefore, more vigorous field inspection and increased fines for DUI and unlicensed driving are strongly recommended. The RSTA could also make it mandatory for major traffic violators to attend a one day refresher course conducted by RSTA before their driving license is reinstated.

Road safety officials said that unlicensed driving is illegal but they differentiate operating a vehicle without a valid driver’s license and driving a vehicle without proof of a driver’s license such as when a driver fails to physically produce a valid driver’s license. A penalty of Nu 1,750 is charged for unlicensed driving or driving without a license on the spot but in this case, if a driver produces a license, the penalty is withdrawn.

The increase in the vehicle numbers is another factor contributing to road crashes and fatalities. There were 26,338 vehicles imported into the country from July 2013 to June 2017.

A recommendation proposed is to review and revise the taxation policy on import of vehicles. The government may also consider an upward revision of fees related to parking, vehicle registration, driving license including fines and penalties.

Even if such fiscal measures do not reduce vehicle imports, logically, the revenue generated can be reinvested to improve road infrastructure, which in turn could decongest traffic flow and reduce road fatalities.

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