The draft road safety and transport bill 2017, has been uploaded on the MoIC website to seek feedback from the public on the proposed changes. So far it has received a number of comments, particularly with regard to penalties.
One major feedback is that the bill should stress on streamlining issuance of driving license and on awareness and training rather than on making penalties more stringent especially for an offences like speeding and Driving Under Influence (DUI) of alcohol and psychotropic substances. Therefore it says that the authority should conduct periodic awareness and training to enhance road safety.
Some comments have questioned the method of fixing fines. One comment says the fine amount is heftier than salaries of most vehicle owners and has not considered Bhutan’s per capita income. This was similar to trends seen in countries like Libya and Indonesia where extreme penalties were imposed.
Karma Pemba of the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) said the draft bill has been uploaded on MOIC website to seek feedback and suggestions from public after which it will be presented to Parliament. “Our main focus is to provide a safe and reliable transport system,” he said.
“We are also planning to propose stiff measures on issuance of driving license. With online booking or registration for a driving test since March 6, 2017, everyone who wants to do a driving test must register with RSTA and no person shall obtain a driving license illegally. And apart from box and highway test, we are also planning a test to park the vehicle.”
He also mentioned introducing the digital system to check speed limit and use of intelligent speed adaptation, driver alert control and eye drowsiness detector.
Superintendent of Police from Traffic Division said, “Obtaining driver license should also be made harder because we know that although most accidents result from over speeding and DUI, it is also an outcome of inexperienced driving.”
He also said that person’s driving skills couldn’t be a tested with the box and highway test. “I think we should plan more stiff measures so that every person who takes up a driving test knows that the way they have been taught to drive is the safest way to drive,” he said.