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Repeat offenders commit 72% of traffic offences

Repeat offenders committed 43,225 traffic offences of the total 59,746 recorded between 2011 and 2016.

This means, repeat offenders committed 72 percent of the total traffic offences, according to the traffic offence report published by the information and communications ministry. The top five traffic offences are using hand-held cell phone while driving, drunk driving, over speeding, no driving license on the spot and invalid registration certificate.

Road Safety and Transport Authority’s (RSTA) chief transport officer, Karma Pemba, said that minor offences such as parking offence, failing to carry documents, to indicate and to renew documents on time, among others would be accepted when repeated. “However, all such offences would be recorded against the offender and would be used in case he/she commits a major offence.”

According to the report 6,687 drivers have repeated an offence twice, while 3,206 offenders have repeated an offence thrice. “A single male and female driver have repeated traffic offence as high as 24 and 9 times respectively,” the report states.

While only 680 female drivers had repeated traffic offences, about 13,000 male drivers have been recorded as repeat offenders.

For those who are not licensed as professional drivers, offences such as over speeding, dangerous over taking, entering one-way traffic, wrong or dangerous overtaking, carrying excess load or passenger, using hand-held cell phones while driving and aggressive driving are imposed fines and licenses punched twice on the third offence. On the fourth offence, the license is suspended for six months.

While for professional drivers, the license is suspended for six months on repeating the offence for the third time.

For drunk driving, after the suspension of license for six months, the license is cancelled when the offence is repeated for the fifth time.

Unlicensed drivers are imposed a penalty and if the driver is caught without a license for the fourth time, the case is forwarded to court.

Activities such as traffic patrols, zero tolerance to traffic offences, pre-departure and post arrival inspection on passenger buses, highway inspections among others are executed to minimise traffic offences in the country.

Karma Pemba said that RSTA is currently reviewing the Road Safety and Transport Regulations. “Regulations would be further strengthened, including revision of the penalties if required.”

He added that additional equipment would be procured, officials trained, technologies such as CCTV cameras, GPS, Parking meters/ cameras and information display boards, Bus Information Systems and Smart Card systems would be used in future to reduce traffic offence.

The report shows that drivers between the age group 28 to 32 commit the highest number of offences. It also states that only 9.8 percent of repeat offender cases were recorded from drivers above 48 years old.

“The study shows that the incidence of repeat offences gradually decreases with the increase in age,” the report states.

Karma Pemba said that today RSTA is challenged with inadequate inspection vehicles for carrying out regular monitoring and inspections. “The RSTA would be requesting the government to provide adequate Road Safety Inspection vehicles to enhance mobility of inspectors.”

 

Phurpa Lhamo 

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