In order to strengthen road safety, around thirty 'fixed penalties' will be revised upwards. They are contained in the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill. Transfer of ownership of a vehicle between two individuals at the Registrar General, without a lien certificate from the NLTA, will soon be possible. The bill will be introduced for first reading in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Important amendments are on the agenda to the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill which will be presented for first reading to the National Assembly on Tuesday, including “increase penalties with regard to some offenses”. In fact, around thirty 'fixed penalties' will be revised upwards in the 'Fourth Schedule' of the law. We cite not wearing a seat belt, license plates and speeding among others.

Concerning the upward revision of 'fixed penalties', the absence of a fitness certificate increases from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000. If speeding of less than 15 km/h and up to 25 km/h h remain unchanged at Rs 2,500 and Rs 5,000 respectively, those exceeding 25 km/h go from Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,500.

For not wearing a seat belt, offenders will now pay Rs 5,000 instead of Rs 1,000. As for non-compliant number plates, the fine increases from Rs 1,000 to Rs 25,000.
For rallies, the fine for the first offense will be between Rs 10,000 and Rs 25,000, for the second between Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000 and Rs 100,000 for the third offense.

The other major amendment concerns the acquisition of a vehicle. Henceforth, when there is a transfer of ownership of a vehicle between two individuals, no certificate of pledge without movement will be required from the NLTA by the Registrar General.

Road safety expert Barlen Munusami explains that when there are increases, there are lots of small adjustments needed, but what is striking is the fine for number plates increasing from Rs 1 000 to Rs 25,000.

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“What is the logic behind this increase? The law is confusing. She talks about dimensions and space, but no mention is made of 3D acrylic plates. Many people wonder whether 3D plates, which respect the dimensions, are legal or not. There are many gray areas in the regulations that should have been reviewed before coming with an increase,” continues Barlen Munusami. According to him, by increasing 'fixed penalties', “many police officers could distribute tickets indiscriminately, because “the regulations are not clear on the type of license plates authorized”. “This is intriguing and will need to be clarified, as it has nothing to do with security.”

Concerning the fines for not wearing a seat belt, which increase from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000, he argues that this requires a lot of thought. “There are loopholes in the regulations concerning medical certificates, which make it possible to justify the absence of a seat belt within five days,” explains Barlen Munusami.

Concerning other small infractions, previously penalized at Rs 500 which will increase to Rs 1,000, Barlen Munusami affirms that it was the right thing to do. “When the fines are too low, they do not deter. The fine for speeding, which increases from Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,500 for excesses of more than 25 km/h, is justified, because any excess speed can cause fatal accidents,” the speaker said.

Regarding the no-travel pledge certificate, former NTA deputy transport commissioner Cyril Appajala says the measure will bring “relief to the NLTA”. “Saying that we abolish the pledge certificate in certain ways will relieve certain measures, but there will always be dishonest people. We had to think about it,” he believes.

Cyril Appajala says he thinks that the best way to unclog the NLTA will be more human resources. “The problem will be resolved with experienced human resources. Also, we cannot administer with pressure and repression. We need to talk to the officers and find solutions,” recommends the former commissioner.

Some of the 'fixed penalties'

  • Non-compliant registration plates will now be punished with a fine of Rs 25,000 instead of Rs 1,000.
  • Failure to wear a seat belt will result in a fine of Rs 5,000 instead of Rs 1,000.
  • Exceeding the speed limit by more than 25 km/hour will be penalized to the tune of Rs 12,500 instead of Rs 10,000.
  • The absence of a fitness certificate increases from Rs 500 to Rs 1000.

Note that other proposed amendments include new regulations to regulate structures carried or pushed during a procession on the road, as well as tougher penalties for rallies.

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