Traffic rules are posed to govern the traffic and control the movement and behaviour of all vehicles and their drivers. A mega city like Dhaka needs proper implication of strict traffic rules because otherwise, traffic jams and accidents will make the residents’ lives miserable. On that note, Bangladesh government has passed a new set of laws naming Road Transport Act, 2018 which is being implemented starting November 1, 2019. This law includes provisions of a maximum penalty of five years in jail and half a million taka in fine as a result of death from road accidents. Moreover, there is a law for death penalty if the accident was intentional.
The new act is bound to lessen the traffic jam in the roads of Dhaka city and reduce accidents as well. But there are a few features of these rules that concerns ride-sharing drivers in Dhaka.
There are more than a few points in the act where the government emphasised on the need of having and carrying proper driving licence by every driver of motor vehicles. And, there is a new requirement while applying for a driving licence in the first place. A professional driver will have to be at least 21 years old and have passed 8th grade or equivalent. There was no educational requirements for driving licence before now and although a basic level of education is needed for the job, many well-skilled ride-sharing drivers may or may not possess proper academic certificates which will cause some complications.
Anyone having a driving licence will have 12 points against the licence and the points will go down as the driver disobeys the red light, overtakes where it’s not allowed, disobeys speed limits, drives on the wrong side and so on. One notable point is that using vehicles for business without permission from the proper authority will reduce one point from the driver’s licence as well and a loss of 12 points altogether will entirely cancel the licence.
The most important points for ride-sharing drivers in this act is the “route permit” law and the law on the use of motor vehicles in business. Notable fact is that there were rules and laws on registering cars and drivers used in ride-sharing and rent-a-car services before, as well. The details concerning ride-sharing from this act are discussed here.
To acquire the proper permissions to use their vehicles to share rides, one will have to register into the Passenger and Product Transportation Committee formed by the government in every city, division and district. And the vehicle will need a “route permit” from the committee as a “contract carriage”.
Any vehicle that doesn’t have the permit from the local passenger and product transportation committee, won’t be allowed to get used for business. Which means, a driver can not use their vehicle by ride-sharing apps if they don’t have permission to use it as a “contract carriage” from the authority. And yet, they will have to stick to the routes they are permitted to enter.
Breaking the “route permit” law by any driver will cost them a highest of three months penalty in jail or a highest of Tk. 20,000 as fine or both.
Breaking the law for vehicles’ use in business will cost the driver a highest of three months penalty in jail or a highest of Tk. 25,000 as fine or both and along with that, the driver will lose one point from their driving licence.
Although in plain sight these rules may seem as unnecessary trouble for the drivers who are skilled and experienced, the reality is that it will ensure the safety of not only the passengers but also the riders and their rides. The systematic approach of registering and getting route permission will make the ride-sharing experience smoother and more reliable which will encourage more people to use these services.