Until recently if a person is caught drunk and driving, he was either charged a penalty or in some minor cases excused. However, with the increasing number of traffic accidents in the city the traffic rules are going to be implemented more strictly.
It is not that rules did not exist but earlier the enforcement of rules was not done as strictly by authorities. In a move to prevent further accidents and maintain traffic discipline the traffic authorities are less tolerant of traffic mistakes. One example is that more driving licenses are being punched every month; punching is a process of piercing a hole on the three black squares at the bottom left corner of one’s driving license which indicates that the particular individual holding the license has been warned of a serious traffic violation. If one gets more than two punches then ones driving license will be seized by authorities.
The traffic division has also introduced speed guns at the high ways to monitor over speeding while traffic personals have also been deployed at certain points.
Meanwhile the authorities have also introduced the alcohol detecting devices. With the introduction of this device, the traffic police can monitor the amount of alcohol consumed by motorists while driving. Lieutenant Namgay Wangchuk with the Thimphu traffic division, said the maximum limit for a motorist holding a regular license should not exceed 80mg of alcohol in a single breath while the individuals holding professional driving license holders are not allowed to drink at all.
If a person is caught exceeding the 80mg limit then the individual will be charged Nu 1,750 as a penalty while his license will also be punched according to the severity of the case.
The traffic authorities will cease licenses that are punched more than twice. These measures are taken only after a committee meeting between the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) and the traffic division where they will decide amongst the license ceased earlier by the traffic division. The licenses which have been punched once are allowed to drive but if it’s punched more than twice then it’s ceased.
On this the superintendent of traffic division Major Passang Dorji, said we’ve discussed and I have even suggested the RSTA on giving a specific set of time for those whose license has been ceased to recuperate and then again apply for a new license again. “It is due to the increased number of violations leading to accidents and deaths, the traffic division has intensified the checking routines,” he added.
Senior transport officer Prem P. Adhikari said that the RSTA is in the process of drafting a specific set of criteria for offences where the violator’s license needs to be punched.
The RSTA officials said that as of now there are no plans drafted for other Dzongkhags but RSTA is considering introducing it in the future in other Dzongkhags.