Police are still focused on raising awareness instead of implementing the new law
The police are not applying the Road Transport Act strictly since it's coming into effect for more than two weeks. Officials of the traffic division said they have yet to receive any directions on filing cases or slapping fines.
The law was made more than one year ago. It came into effect on November 1, but police have yet to start filing cases for violation of the law. So the law enforcers have been carrying out only awareness campaign for the last two weeks.
"We are trying to bring a positive change among commuters, drivers and vehicle owners. That is why each and every day we talk to them about not violating the law," said Md Refatul Islam, assistant commissioner of Ramna traffic zone.
He added that the new law is already providing a smoother way to manage Dhaka traffic.
"Even when I am very busy, I personally organise at least 2 awareness programmes at key intersections in Ramna Zone every day," said Refatul.
Meanwhile, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam held a meeting with Traffic Division officials at the police headquarters on Thursday to discuss the implementation of the newly enacted traffic law.
According to sources, the officials could not agree on whether to immediately implement the Road Transport Act, 2018.
"We did not get any instruction from the higher authorities to take action over the matter, so there is no possibility of implementing the new law anytime soon," said an assistant commissioner of the Traffic South Division on condition of anonymity.
Another source, who was present at the meeting, said the officials agreed to fix a minimum fine as per the Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ordinance.
"The new law has fixed a maximum fine, but has not set a minimum fine. So, initially we will slap law-breakers with minimum fines," said the official.
Another source said that the fine will be doubled if someone breaks the law a second time.
"We will treat offenders with humanitarian consideration. We will not impose the same fine on a motorcyclist and a truck driver for the same offence. But obliviously the fine will be doubled if anyone breaks the law a second time," the source said.
Another assistant commissioner of the Traffic North Division said they do not think the law will be implemented within the next few days.
"We are yet to get the new case slips and Point of Sale (PoS) machine upgrades. All sergeants submitted their PoS machines at least three days ago. A rough figure is ready, but until we get the case slips, I cannot confirm when the new law will be implemented," the assistant commissioner said.