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Speed limits on our roads

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 Speed limit regulation no. 1 of 2012 dated 22-6-2012 
 
The Motor Traffic (Speed Limit) Regulations No. 1 of 2012 and published in the Govt. Gazette No. 1763/26 dated 22/6/2012 approved by the Legal Draftsman Department by No. LDB/ 24/51 and signed by the Hon. Minister of Transport and was circulated for the information of the Public.





 Schedule of Roads - Part I to Part IV 

The Govt. Gazette No. 1763/26 dated 22/6/2012 published a format in respect of the 954 roads giving the following details for the information of the public; the Sections of roads to which speed limits are applicable within the nine Provinces.

Schedule (Regulation 2) Part 1- “A” Roads


For the purpose of reference only, 3 roads have been shown above out of 954 roads

The above format continues up to Part IV- Colombo Roads. The above schedule clearly explains the “built up areas” and “non built up areas” and guides the Law Enforcement Officers to initiate action against speeding motorists.





 Speed Limit Sign Boards installed at different locations and NOT at the exact km Mark on the Road 

(i) Speed limit sign boards along “Non built up” area roads, 70 kmph, 60 kmph and 40 kmph have been installed NOT at the exact km/h location as per regulation 1 of 2012. They are installed about 30 to 40 meters apart (locations). This is again a violation in respect of the regulation 1 of 2012 and technically Police Officers will be at a disadvantage to prove the charges of speeding.

(ii) The 50 kmph sign board and 40 kmph sign boards too are installed at 2 different locations within the built up area. All the Boards must be at a single demarcated location along the roads as mentioned in the Regulation 1 of 2012.






 A Consolidated Speed Limit Regulation Needed 
The speed limits regulations have been published in the following Govt. Gazettes for instituting action against speeding motorists:-

(1) No. 448/18 of 13-3-1987
(2) No. 1576/29 of 21-11-2008
(3) No. 1763/26 of 22-6-2012
(4) No. 1779/ 17 of 10-10-2012

It is recommended that all four Govt. Gazettes could be amalgamated and consolidated as one regulation and published by the authorities. For the convenience of the Law Enforcement Officers and for the information of the public The Govt Press too has stopped printing the Govt. Gazettes for the past 2 years and the public and Law enforcement authorities have been deprived of this facility. The relevant minister in charge of the Department of Government Printing should ensure that all Government Gazettes are printed and published as previously done by the Government. The majority of citizens do not have access to the Internet in order to obtain copies of Government Gazettes and therefore undergo severe hardship.





 Motor Traffic Act (Use of Radar Speed Meter Guns) 

The use of Radar Speed Meter Guns Regulation of 1994 published in the Govt. Gazette No. 827/13 of 14/6/1994 states

(1) Radar Speed meter guns approved by the Inspector General of Police for the purpose of detecting or measuring the speed of motor vehicles under section 140 of the Motor traffic Act.

(2) The Speed Meter should indicate the speed of vehicles digitally for positive identification of speeding offences.

(3) Certificate of Accuracy and Reliability is issued by Measuring Unit, Standard and Services Department, 101, Park Road, Colombo-05 (Certificate is valid for 6 months)

(4) The Certificate issued is accepted as evidence in a Court of Law.

(5) The Radar Speed Meter Gun may be operated by any Police Officer of and above the rank of a Police Sergeant authorized by The Inspector General of Police for the purpose of measuring the speed of motor vehicles in any Highway.

The Speed Limit Regulation 1 of 2012 gazetted in the Govt. Gazette No. 1763/26 dated 22-06-2012 failed to include the provisions of the above regulation No. 827/13 dated 14/6/1994 for the information of the Public.





 Important to Note 
Traffic accident Statistics clearly indicate two main causes for Road Traffic Accidents such as Fatalities, Grievous Injuries, Simple Injuries. Damage caused to vehicles and properties was due to,

(i)Incorrect or dangerous overtaking, and (ii) Speeding.

The details for the period 2005 to 2014 appear below: A total of 56,404 speeding cases have been recorded.

With a view of curbing the alarming increase in road traffic accidents, the authorities - Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Highways, the Police Department and the Legal Draftsman Department - should re draft the speed limit Regulations 1 of 2012 considering the information explained in my report above, and close all loopholes in the said regulations in order to enable the law Enforcement Officers to successfully implement the speed limit regulations and save the lives of innocent victims who die or suffer severe injuries annually on our roads due to speeding vehicles.







 Secretary, Ministry of  Transport left in the dark/violation of  the directive given in  SC (FR) Application No. 298/2005 of 25/1/2008 

R. D. A. should have addressed the letter No. RDA/P/RS/TM/PM dated 10-8-20 15 to the Secretary, Ministry of Transport and sought advice since the Regulation No. 1 of 2012 was approved and signed by the Hon. Minister of Transport on 14/06/2012, and in view of the directive given in SC (FR) Application No. 298/2005 dated 25-01-2008.

The regulation No. 1 of 2012 cannot be partly implemented by only instituting action against the Motorists driving along the 72 roads out of 954 roads gazetted by the Ministry of Transport. It must be implemented island-wide. If along the 72 roads - speed limit sign boards have been installed by the RDA, an amendment to the original Regulation No.1 of 2012 should have been gazetted by the Minister of Transport. The above action taken by the RDA and the Police Department is a violation of the directive in SC (FR) Application No. 298/2005 dated 25-01-2008.





 Road Development Authority Roads and the applicable speed limits 

The Govt. Gazette No. 1763/26 dated 22/6/2012 (speed limit) Regulation

No. 1 of 2012 has published the following statistics of roads covered by that regulation - ‘A’ class roads- 330, ‘AB’ class roads- 59, ‘B’ class roads 565 : Total- 954 roads where the speed limits are applicable in respect of the nine provinces explaining (a) route Number, (b) name of road, (c) township and (d) section in km where the ‘built up areas’ are located and the applicable speed limits for all Motor vehicles shall be (50) km per hour(kmph),and (40) kmph for all land vehicles, motor cycles, and motor tricycle vans. All other roads not specified shall be known as “Non built Areas” and the speed limit for all motor vehicles shall be (70) kmph and for all motor coaches and lorries 60kmph. Speed limit applicable for land vehicles, motor tricycles, motor tricycle vans and special purpose vehicles on non built up areas shall be (40) kmph.

The restrictive sign for the speed limit of 30 kmph published in the Govt. Gazette No. 1576/29 of 21-11-2008 in the vicinity of schools and hospitals has been omitted in the Regulation No.1 of 2012 gazetted for the information of the public.





 RDA Letter No. RDA/P/RS/TM/PM dated l0t August 2015 

Road Development Authority by letter No. RDA/P/RS/TM/PM dated 10-8-2015 addressed to D. I. G. Traffic, Police Headquarters indicating 72 Roads where speed limit sign boards have been installed and the sections of the roads, attached as an annexure describing the places where the speed limit sign boards have been installed and specifying the sections of “A” class roads, “AB” class roads, and “B” class roads. The format in the annexure reads as follows.



As it is for the purpose of reference, only two roads have been shown above. This format is contrary to the format published in the Regulation No. 1 of 2012. The exact location of the “Built up” areas and” non Built up” are as have been omitted.





 50 kmph SPEED LIMIT Sign Board Installed on the Road within the Built Up Area 

On top of the 50 kmph sign board erected within the built up area road, the R D A has exhibited the time on top section of the sign board as 5 am to 9 pm. This time period has not been gazetted and further the letters are not visible to Motorists However, at present motorists are permitted to exceed the speed limit beyond 50 kmph within the built up area between 9 pm and 5 am up to 70 kmph. This action is illegal and the signboards displaying the time 5.00  a.m. to 9.00 p.m. should be removed in the interest of road safety.





 Absence of speed limit terminations (ceases) boards on roads is mandatory 

SC (FR) application No. 298/2005 of 25-1-2008 para (d) directs the point at which such limitation would cease (terminate) in terms of regulation 6(2) (b) of the regulation dated 9/1/1987 published in the Govt. Gazette No. 444/8 of 13-3-87 is mandatory has been omitted by the Authorities The end of speed limit sign [40 kmph] in the Govt. gazette No. kmph] 2-2-6 has been replaced by sign 2.2.9 1576/29 regulation dated 21-11-2008.

Note: The Authorities “Ministry of Transport/Ministry of Highways” have failed to provide the reason for non inclusion of the end of speed limits signs boards in the Regulation No. 1 of 2012 for the information of the public - A VIOLATION of the directive delivered in SC (FR) Application No. 298/2005 dated 25/1/2008.





 The Motor Traffic (use of vehicles) Regulation 1983 amended by Regulation 20 published in the Govt. Gazette No. 875/8 dated 16/6/1995(Tinted Glasses) 

The use on any highway of any motor vehicle the windscreen or window of which is tinted, treated or shaded with any colour in such a manner so as to prevent the identification of any occupant inside a motor vehicle is an offence. The maximum percentage of degree of light permitted shall be at least 70 % of visible light which shall be determined through an Illuminance Meter operated by a Police Officer or an Examiner of Motor Vehicles. The accuracy of the meter shall be certified by the Warden of Standard of Measurement Standard and Services Division of Internal Trade and the certificate shall be admissible in evidence in a Court of Law.

The testing and calibrating of the meter and the procedure is explained in four schedules in the above said regulation. (Schedule I to Schedule II)
Note: Similar procedure should be published in the Speed Limit regulation 1 of 2012 with regard to the use of the Radar Speed Meter Gun in detecting speeding motor vehicles. In the absence of similar guidelines in the speed limit regulation 1 of 2012 the regulation itself is incomplete and therefore unenforceable.





 Issue of a Receipt 

The Regulation should include provision to the effect that:

i) The certificate of accuracy issued by the competent Authority is produced to the offending motorists at the place of detection
ii) A receipt with the following details is issued to the driver:

(a) Date and time of detection of the speeding case, (b)Place of detection (KM mark)
(c)Vehicle Number, (d)Name of Driver, (e) Number of Radar Speed meter Gun, (f) Speed of vehicle recorded in the Speed meter Gun, (g) Whether the digitally
recorded speed was shown to the driver- Yes/No, (h) Signature and Registered No. of the Senior Police Officer handling the speed meter gun
Similar receipts are issued by the Police Officers in respect of para 14 of Tinted Vehicles gazette regulations and para 15 - driver charged for consumption of Alcohol gazette regulations.





 detecting a Driver for consumption of Alcohol or drugs 

Motor Traffic Act Chapter 203 - Act No. 31 of 1979 - Section 151 Published in the Govt. Gazette No. 45 of 13/7/1979 - A breath test is carried out by using a breathalyzer to test the person who has consumed alcohol. The procedure has been explained in the Amendment Act No. 31 of 1979 and the I. G. P.’s circular No. 697/87 dated 2/9/1987 and 24/11/1988 and published in the Police Gazette No. 474 dated 7/10/1987..

 (1) Similar Procedure should be published in the Speed Limit Regulation No. 1 of 2012 with regard to the use of the Radar Speed meter Gun in detecting speeding motor vehicles.  
(2) In the absence of similar guidelines in the speed limit regulation 1 of 2012, the regulation itself becomes unenforceable.


 
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