However, the draft did not suggest any separate punishment for death through road accident by negligence of driver or reckless driving.
The draft says punishment for death through road accident will be awarded as per the Bangladesh Penal Code, 1860.
The section 304 of the Penal Code says whoever commits culpable homicide not amounting to murder shall be punished with life imprisonment or imprisonment of the either description for a term which may be extended to ten years. Sections 304 (A) and 304 (B) states that maximum punishment shall be five years and three years in jail for road accident cases.
Road Transport and Highways Secretary MAN Siddique told the Dhaka Tribune: “The final draft is ready with all revisions completed and we will send it to the Cabinet within a week for approval.
“In the draft act, we have not mentioned any separate penalty for death by road accident, rather we suggested to refer to the concerned section of the Bangladesh Penal Code.”
A Manikganj court on Wednesday sentenced bus driver Jamil Hossain to life imprisonment as per section 304 for the death of filmmaker Tareque Masud and journalist Mishuk Munier in a road accident.
However the victim's family wanted the charge to be framed under section 302 of the Penal Code which allows the provision of death penalty or life imprisonment.
But for years now, debates have been going on about what punishment should be fixed for deaths by road accidents.
Kazi Md Shifun Newaz, assistant professor of Accident Research Institute (ARI) at Buet, told the Dhaka Tribune: “The verdict of Tareque and Mishuk death case should be set as an example for similar trails in the future.
“The draft of the Road Transport Act should consider suggestions in line with the case's verdict to work in the prevention of similar accidents.”
However, Illias Kanchan, chairman Nirapad Sarak Chai (We demand Safe Road), said: “We have been suggesting to the government a ten-year imprisonment instead of three years as per section 4 (B) of the Penal Code in this regard.”
On the issue of punishment, Khandakar Enayetulla, secretary general of Bangladesh Sarak Paribahan Malik Samity, said: “We will only agree to charge framing under section 304, if any investigation officer concerned can proved without any doubt that the alleged driver caused the accident intentionally.
“But investigation in this country has many loop holes, so we demand that punishments for death by road accident be given under section 304 (B) of the Penal Code.”
Since 2010, the government has taken the initiative to upgrade the act because the existing laws have not been able to bring discipline to the road transport sector.
Although a draft was ready in 2011, it was cancelled under pressure from transport owners and workers.
Four years later, the draft law on road transportation has been completed by the Road Transport and Highways Division.