In August 2019, the total fine collection from traffic law violation stood at Tk11 crore. Following the introduction of the new “fine chart”, the total collection will increase significantly, if the number of traffic rule violations remains the same
Tk11 crore was collected under the previous act – Motor Vehicles Ordinance, 1983. In Dhaka, the residents break laws. Sometimes, willingly and sometimes unknowingly. What is of grave concern, while breaking the law they do not even asses the outcome which often leads to chaos.
But, what makes us break rules?
Personality plays a major role when it comes to building a habit of going by the law. When a person is concerned and aware of the law and order, he or she develops conscientiousness within his or her self. This prevents him or her from breaking the law. But, it doesn't apply to all and sundry.
So, what does it take to make an ordinary citizen aware of all the laws and come to an understanding of the responsibilities heaped on him or her. There are some criteria through which one becomes a good citizen. But who would be in charge of fostering the environment in which citizenry would easily be able to maintain the criteria.
The government, as a mediator, would do the job. And at present, this is exactly what the government is doing. In the wake of the recently introduced Road Transport Act, 2018, the government has taken some decisive steps towards making people aware of the laws they need to abide by.
Government action is always imperative. We have seen the positive consequences of the government taking massive steps to make people aware of the law regarding acid violence. And, it resulted in reducing the crime at a tremendous rate.
According to an article written by Md Mustakimur Rahman, a lecturer of law, "Since 1999 till September 2015, Bangladesh has faced almost 3283 acid incidents with around 3640 survivours. Although the acid violence rate has been decreasing 15 to 20% after enactment of the Acid Control Act and Acid Crime Control Act in 2002."
The road and transport law is probably the most violated laws of the country. Previously under the Motor Vehicles Ordinance, 1983, the highest punishment for traffic law violation was two years imprisonment, while the minimum jail term was one month. The maximum fine was Tk5,000, and the minimum Tk100.
But now under the Road Transport Act, 2018, the maximum fine is as much as Tk5 lakh, and the minimum fine is Tk5,000. Only in the Dhaka Metropolitan area, the DMP Traffic Division files 5,000 cases on an average every day.
In implementing this new law, the government has given a massive focus to make everyone aware of it. Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader also stated that there will be no cases filed in the first week under this law as it is necessary to enlighten people of the law first and, to this end, started campaigns at the major traffic points of the city where there are continuous announcements on public address systems.
The chaotic traffic system we are now witnessing is a result of the practice that has been going on for years. It is not very realistic to hope that everyone will change their mind-set in a week and adopt the newer rules readily.
Additionally, in Bangladesh, power and wealth exert their influence on the order of things in the social sphere. Order on roads too is often breached by people in power and those who afford to show off their wealth – the people whose expensive cars ply Dhaka roads. For example, we may recall the iconic image of a traffic police official stopping a VIP car that was moving on the wrong side of the road. Though the VIP finally agreed to turn his car on that occasion, there are times when a police car has also been seen escorting a VIP through the wrong side of the road.
Citizens are prone to break the law and to make them responsible, the government should step forward. Through the Acid Control Act and Acid Crime Control Act 2002, the government has proved that their true willingness can reduce crime at a massive rate. The same is also required to curb the chaos on road.