Drivers welcome stiffer traffic fines
BY NATASHA SIRIBADDANA
The Cabinet of Ministers last Wednesday approved the increase of traffic fines up to Rs 25,000. New traffic regulations approved on Wednesday list five offences for which drivers will be fined. These five offences are driving without a license which applies to minors and adults, entering a railway crossing irresponsibly, driving without the vehicle insurance, and drunk driving.
There will be a spot fine of Rs 2,000 for drivers who use their mobile phones while driving.
"The spot fine for speeding is increased to Rs 2,000, if the drivers exceed a speed limit by 20 per cent and a fine of Rs 5,000 if the speed is in excess of between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of the set limit. If the driver exceeds between 30 per cent and 50 per cent the fine will go up to Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000" said the Co-Cabinet spokesman Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka.
Karunathilaka added that the fine for overtaking from the left will be increased to Rs 2,000 and for irresponsible driving the fine will be increased to Rs 10,000. The minimum fine for minors driving vehicles will be Rs 30,000, up from the original Rs 5,000.
According to the Minister these tougher rules and regulations have been introduced to cut down on the high incidence of accidents and to ensure the traffic regulations are better implemented. He has also said that these rules work effectively in developed countries.
So many deaths are reported in road accidents. This is mostly because of those who violate the rules. Therefore these rules will be in enforced with immediate effect to ensure that we can reduce road accidents and deaths on the highways. Hopefully this will apply to all without any discrimination. After these rules and regulations are set, the people are expected to start obeying them in the safety interests of everyone concerned.
Ceylon Today spoke to a few members of the general public about these new regulations.
Indika Prasanna (43) who is a bus driver who plies on route 174 said "many rules have been introduced from time to time but none of them actually bore fruit. The Police gave us a set of traffic rules printed on a small card but none of those rules are working. It's been over 3 months since then. The drivers are supposed to go for a special training course and bus drivers have to pay Rs 1,600 out of our pockets for three days".
Wasantha Rohana (54) is a driver on route 153: "It's a great idea to introduce such rules. It is very fair because it's not right for minors to drive without licenses and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They will now be fined Rs 25,000. This will prevent anyone from driving without a license.
We have no problems with this at all because there will be less vehicles also. We rarely overtake from the left. It's mostly the small vehicles that do this."
Rathnasiri (34) runs on the 172 route stated that it is actually an excellent idea to come up with these regulations. We agree with all these rules.
Muhammed Ahrip (49) said "it is okay to fine the individuals who drive without a license and drive under the influence. When we are at the wheel, sometimes the passengers jump off from the rear entrance and cause accidents and we get into trouble. The Police fine us. How can we stop that? It's their responsibility to get off safely. We agree with these rules because it is applied to all the drivers."
Shelly Francis Silva (58) who has been driving taxis for more than 32 years stated that "it is fair. When there are children who drive vehicles without knowing the road rules it's difficult for us also. After getting into an accident they argue without proper facts. It is disturbing for the people who obey the road rules. When we want to go for a party and we know that we will consume alcohol, we rent a car and go to it. We don't want to endanger anyone after we have consumed some alcohol. There should be a fine to ensure traffic discipline. They should increase the fine even up to Rs 50,000 to prevent these accidents." He also stated that if these rules are for all the drivers then there should not be any exception for politicians' sons and daughters.
"No one should drive vehicles after drinking alcohol. It puts that person and the people around him in danger. The rule should be applied to the Minister's sons also without any exclusion. In some parts of the country we find that different rules are applied.
They can't do that! The rules should be the same throughout the country." said Wasantha Ranjith Elmo Perera's occupation involves driving a motor bike for the better part of the day. "Not just Rs 25,000, they should fine errant drivers up to Rs 1 million to stop these irresponsible drivers causing all this harm. Though people complain, this is a good deterrent to motor accidents.
Navy Engineer, Ranjith. "The fine is okay but the rule for overtaking from the left should be lessened because Colombo city is always full of traffic jams. Other than that all the rules should be strict. My only objection is the fine for left side overtaking.
If that rule could be tightened only within the Colombo city region, that would be better. The people who enforce these rules must also honour them and set an example. The general public will then begin respecting these rules" said J.L. Pumal (50) who drives a three wheeler for a living. People, who do not possess licenses, have no clue about the road rules. It's mainly because of them that there are so many fatal accidents. I personally like these rules," said
Madawa (23) who also drives a three-wheeler for a living says that "Overall after listening to these comments, my conclusion is that the rules and regulations approved by Cabinet will have a positive response from motorists and from the general public. They hope that after these regulations are enforced everyone will become more conscious of their responsibilities to others on the roads.
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