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Death for intentional crash

Road Transport Bill with 5-yr term gets Cabinet nod

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Staff Reporter  :
The Cabinet has given its final approval to a draft of the Road Transport Bill 2018 with a provision of maximum five years in jail and a fine of Tk 500,000 for death in road accident.
But if the driver is found to have deliberately caused an accident causing someone's death, he or she will be tried under the existing Penal Code and face the death penalty, according to the new draft law.
The approval was given in the weekly cabinet meeting held in the Prime Minister's Office, as Road Transport and Highways Division placed the draft as a supplementary agenda amidst recent nationwide students' movement for safe road.
The approval comes amid student protests for road safety and demands for capital punishment for deliberate road accident related deaths.
Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam highlighted parts of the new draft at the Secretariat after the Cabinet meeting.
"In cases of offences related as accidents, the draft law says that, regardless of the law, if any man is grievously injured or killed in a motor transport accident, it will be considered under the penal code's Sections 302 or 304," he said.
Which section will apply to any given case will be determined by the investigators, based on evidence and testimony, he said.
"It will be decided on the severity of the situation and the evident. If it is determined that they have intentionally committed the offence, it will be dealt with by the relevant section of the penal code. The investigation will determine whether it will be dealt under Section 302 or Section 304."
"An addendum states that regardless of the penal code Section 304 (b), if an individual causes grievous injury or death in an accident through recklessness or negligence, they will receive a maximum of five years in prison, a fine or both."
Though the prison sentence limit was set in the law, there is no limit about the amount of fine, Shafiul Alam said.
"The relevant authorities will be able to determine the amount of the fine based on the situation," he said.
According to Law Minister Anisul Huq, Section 304 (b) of the penal code had initially stated it would carry a maximum sentence of seven years in prison, which was brought down to three years in prison in 1985.
The cabinet secretary said that the new maximum sentence of five years was decided after consultation with transport owners, workers, passengers and people from all classes.
'The new law has many deviations from the existing ordinance of 1983 while it introduced new provisions like point system in the driving license,' the cabinet secretary said.
He said the proposed law demanded that the professional drivers must be 21 years old having educational qualification of at least eighth-grade for getting the license while the non-professional drivers, however, could get the license after reaching 18.
A driver would have 12 points against his or her license which would be deducted for violating traffic rules and the license would be scrapped if someone lost all the points.
Cabinet Division Secretary NM Ziaul Alam and Road Transport Division Secretary Nazrul Islam joined the cabinet secretary during the briefing.
The road transport secretary said, "If it is proven that a person was intentionally killed due to reckless driving, it will fall under Section 302, which is punishable by the death penalty."
Neighbouring countries do not impose death penalty for deaths in road accidents, Nazrul Islam said. "Section 302 will only apply if it is considered a killing."

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