• Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019
  • Last Update : 08:53 pm

A new law is not enough

  • Published at 12:02 am November 2nd, 2019
WEB- Traffic Congestion
Heavy gridlock can be seen in one of the roads of Dhaka city during the month of Ramadan due to a change in office schedules on Saturday, May 18, 2019 Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

There remain issues with BRTA’s capabilities and competencies

The passing of the Road Transport Act, 2018 was a welcome change, one that was meant to take a harder stance on traffic violations and curb the chaotic nature of our streets.

While there remained some contention regarding punishments not being harsh enough – especially when it came to reckless driving causing severe injuries or death leading to a maximum punish of five years – it still boasted a will on the part of the authorities to bring discipline to a traffic culture that has been going out of control. 

On this front, we must commend the government for taking the right step. 

However, the authorities in charge of enforcing the law remain unprepared for the job to ensure that the new laws are implemented throughout the country. 

The root of the problem seems to the Bangladesh Road and Transport Authority, which has failed to successfully draft a guideline with which authorities will be able to implement the law to begin with. 

This is unacceptable, considering the fact that BRTA has had more than a year to get this done. 

This goes to show that merely drafting a law and passing it will not be enough as there remain issues with BRTA’s capabilities and competencies, on top of the resources allocated to ensure that the law is followed. 

By some estimates, in its current form, the BRTA can train only 15,000 drivers at a time, where the demand is at 45,000 while the number of officials needed on the streets is 2,000 while we continue to operate with less than half of that.

We welcome the government’s initiative regarding bringing control to the streets but, moving forward, we must recognize that there are a lot more bases that need to be covered, and work towards ensuring that there remain no issues with the new law and its implementation.