Highway rules

Wednesday, 7 December 2011 01:24 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Transport Ministry announces new driver penalties that work on points system

The Transport Ministry yesterday announced new traffic laws for highways that have tough consequences if violated.

Since the opening of Sri Lanka’s first highway on 27 November, there have been eight accidents with five injuries; indeed, within a few hours of the highway being opened, the first incident occurred.

Even before the highway was opened there were concerns over safety, with industry organisations pointing out that deficiencies in the construction could cause issues.

Taking this into consideration, the Transport Ministry released a Gazette notification that was passed on 5 October detailing the punishments of drivers on highways. The new rules offer a unique points system with offences being allocated a number of points and if the points exceed a certain level, then the driver will be penalised.

For example driving in a ‘recklessly or in a dangerous manner or at a dangerous speed’ will be given eight points, while failing to avoid an accident will cost the driver six points.

 If a driver accumulates 24 or more points within 24 months, the license will be automatically suspended.

“The Commissioner General of Traffic shall suspend the regular driving license for a period of 12 months if the holder of the license accumulates 24 driving points. If the holder of a regular driving license exceeds every additional four driver improvement points after accumulating 24 driver improvement points, such holder of a regular license shall be liable to suspension of one month in addition to the 12 month suspension,” the Gazette notification released by the Transport Ministry said.

However, he will be given a warning before this and allowed to reduce “driver improvement points” as they are called if the person takes care not to earn any more points within a stipulated time period. If the driver after gaining points is exceptionally disciplined for a certain time period then his record can even be expunged, according to the Gazette notification.

Once the driving license is suspended, it must be handed over to the Commissioner General of Traffic and records of individual drivers will be maintained by the department. Policemen working on the highways have been charged with reporting offences to the Commissioner General of Traffic on the tenth of every month.