By Chaturanga Samarawickrama
The gazette notice to increase fines to Rs.25,000 with regard to seven traffic offences was issued on Monday night, the Transport Ministry said.
According to the gazette notice, the ministry will present the new traffic fines to parliament after amending the Motor Traffic Act.
“Violation of traffic rules and careless driving by drivers has resulted in several road accidents. The proposal to increase the earlier prescribed minimum fine of Rs.2,500 was made in 2017 considering the increase in the number of accidents,” it said.
“The seven traffic offences were identified at a meeting held with private bus associations and three-wheeler associations at the Finance Ministry on December 21, 2016. It was at that time the fine of Rs.25,000 was decided,” the Transport Ministry said.
However, following several protests held by bus and three-wheeler associations, the President intervened and agreed to appoint a five-member committee comprising Finance Ministry Secretary, Transport and Civil Aviation Ministry Secretary, Solicitor General of the Attorney Generals Department and the Motor Traffic Department Commissioner to study the feasibility of the fine. The fine has been increased to Rs.25,000 for seven traffic ofences in the wake of the committee decision.
According to the Gazette notification, the Rs.25,000 would be applied for driving without a valid license, assigning a driver without a valid driving licence , driving under the influence of alcohol, entering a vehicle into a railway crossing irresponsibly, driving without a valid insurance cover, driving at a high speed and overtaking from the left side.
“Driving a vehicle over a railway crossing was a new offence added to the Motor traffic Act while driving by underage persons, reckless and drunk driving, speeding, driving without concern for others, using mobile phones while driving will be added to the list in the future,” the ministry said.