The much-anticipated ‘Road Transport Bill, 2018’ was placed in the Jatiya Sangsad on Thursday.
The Bill has a provision of maximum 5 years’ jail for any death or serious injuries caused by reckless or negligent driving while death penalty for intentional murder by driving.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader placed the bill in the House and it was sent to the respective scrutiny committee for further examination. The committee was asked to submit its report within seven days.
As per the clause 105 of the bill, “If anyone sustains serious injuries or loses life in any motor transport driving-related accident, such offenses will be considered as crimes under the relevant provisions of the Penal Code 1860.”
“But provided that no matter whatever punishment is in the provision 304 (B) of the Penal Code, whoever causes the serious injuries or death of any person by rash or negligent driving of any motorised vehicle shall be punished with imprisonment of maximum five-year term or with Tk 5 lakh as fine or both,” the same clause continues.
The maximum punishment for this offence was seven-year imprisonment in the past, which was later reduced to three-year imprisonment through bringing an amendment to the law. But the punishment has again been proposed to be increased to five-year jail.
The Cabinet on August 6 last approved the bill to replace the existing Motor Vehicles Ordinance, 1983 in the wake of student movement for road safety after two students of Ramiz Uddin Cantonment College were killed in a road accident.
After that Cabinet meeting, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam had said the maximum punishment would be death penalty in case of intentional murder by driving as per the bill.
He said if it proved through investigation that the death in the road accidents is deliberate, it will be regarded as punishable offence under section 302 of the Penal Code. The section 302 of the Penal Code stipulates: “Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death, or [imprisonment] for life, and shall also be liable to fine”.
The Cabinet Secretary said if any serious injury and death occur, it will be decided following investigation whether the accused will be charged under the clause 302 of the Penal Code. If it’s attempt to murder or culpable homicide will be tried under the penal code… it’ll depend on evidence and the investigation will define whether it is murder or accident.
As per the Clause 11 of the bill, there will be point system against each driving license. A total of 12 points will remain allocated against each driving license and the points will be curtailed for every offence such as violating red light signal and reckless overtaking.
In case of zero point the license will be cancelled, he said adding that the point system is there in many developed countries.
The driving licence can be cancelled, withdrawn or suspended in case of illness, insanity, physical and mental incapability, taking alcohol, habitual crimes or any other reason under the clause-12 of the proposed law.
The minimum educational qualification for having a driving licence is class-VIII in the clause-6 of the proposed law.
As per the clause 53 of the bill, a financial assistance fund will be formed to provide compensation or medical treatment cost to the victims or victim families of road accidents.
A trusty board, led by a chairman, will maintain the fund. The victims will get compensation or medical treatment costs as fixed by the trusty board.
According to the clause 39, the working hours for drivers, helpers-cum-cleaners and conductors will be fixed through the government gazette notification keeping consistency with the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006 and the employers will have to follow it.
As per the proposed law, the maximum punishment for driving without driving licence or driving motorized vehicle without fitness are six-month imprisonment or Tk 25,000 as fine or both.
According to the bill, the maximum punishment for driving unregistered motorized vehicles is six-month imprisonment or Tk 50,000 as fine or both.