• Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020
  • Last Update : 08:44 am

Holding the owners accountable

  • Published at 12:04 am November 21st, 2019
traffic police-road-brta
Traffic police holding up a public vehicle to check if its fitness documents are in order. MEHEDI HASAN/DHAKA TRIBUNE

It is of the utmost importance for our traffic laws to be fair

The countrywide strike of transport workers has rendered parts of the nation immoboile, happening as a reaction to the newly passed Road Transport Act, which is already in effect, with fines being imposed.

However, these fines, often very steep, are imposed on the drivers. In a realistic setting, it is not possible for the drivers, who are not paid much, to pay up. 

Not only that, the new law mandates a maximum five-year jail term for any death or serious injuries caused by reckless or negligent driving, and a death penalty for intentional murder by driving. This, to the transportation workers, is not acceptable.

Harsh punishment for the violations of traffic rules may have often worked in various countries in the world, but the law should also not unfairly burden the workers. Many of the workers earn a measly wage that is barely enough to sustain themselves, let alone pay the fines. Workers who drive the vehicles of others should not be solely responsible for paying the fines, the owners should share the burden too.

The violations that happen on our roads are barely the sole fault of the drivers. The owners often force them to work long hours without any rest. 

Experienced drivers are often replaced by unlicensed new drivers who cost much less. 

Most owners do not have any training programs for their drivers and they do not help them get a license. Rather, the unlicensed drivers are preferred to those who know what they are doing and, therefore, charge more.

It is of the utmost importance for our traffic laws to be fair, and for that to happen, the owners, who hold the lion’s share of responsibility for these vehicles, must be dealt with. 

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