Parliament on Wednesday passed the much-talked-about Road Transport Bill, 2018 with provisions of maximum five-year jail for any death or serious injuries caused by reckless or negligent driving and death penalty for intentional murder by driving.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader placed the bill before the House seeking its immediate passage.The House with Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair passed the bill by voice votes, rejecting the amendment motions put forwarded by the opposition Jatiya Party lawmakers.
The opposition lawmakers asked the government to send back the bill to the parliamentary standing committee concerned and take further public opinions.
Brushing aside the amendment proposals, the minister said the bill was finalised after a series of meetings with stakeholders.
“The law has a provision of capital punishment for an intentional murder,” he said, adding that the law would help keep order on roads.
Section 105 of the law mentions that if anyone sustains serious injuries or loses life in any motor vehicle accidents, the offenses will be considered crimes under the relevant provisions of the Penal Code 1860.
Notwithstanding to the punishments prescribed in the Section 304B of the Penal Code, whoever causes the serious injuries or death of any person by rash or negligent driving will be punished with imprisonment for maximum five years or with a fine of Tk 5 lakh or both, the section says.The maximum punishment for this offence was seven-year imprisonment in the past, which was later reduced to three-year imprisonment by an amendment to the Penal Code.
The Cabinet on August 6 approved the bill draft law seeking a new law replacing the existing Motor Vehicles Ordinance 1983 in the wake of the student movement for road safety after two students of Ramiz Uddin Cantonment College were killed in a road accident in Dhaka.
After the meeting, cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam said that the draft law provides for death sentence as the maximum punishment for intentional murder by driving.
Section 11 of the law provides for the introduction of a point system against each driving licence. A total of 12 points will be allocated against each driving licence and the points will be curtailed for every offence such as violating red light signal and reckless overtaking.
If all the 12 points are cut, the licence will be cancelled, the statute says.
The driving licence can be cancelled, withdrawn or suspended in case of illness, insanity, physical and mental incapability, taking alcohol, habitual crimes or any other reason, stipulates Section 12 of the bill.
Section 6 of the provides for successful completion of Class VIII as the minimum educational qualification for having a driving licence.
Section 53 has a provision for the establishment of a financial assistance fund to provide compensation or medical treatment cost to the victims of road accidents of their families.
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, said the section.
Section 39 stipulates that the working hours for drivers, helpers-cum-cleaners and conductors shall be fixed by an official gazette notification keeping consistency with the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006 and the employers must follow it.
The law says that the maximum punishment for driving without a licence or driving motorised vehicles without fitness certifactes will lead to jail for six months or a fine of Tk 25,000 or both.
The maximum punishment for driving unregistered motorised vehicles would be jail for six months or a fine of Tk 50,000 or both.