<i>BRTA move for 'speed governor seal' hits a bad patch</i>
Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) is facing difficulty in implementing the decision to install 'speed governor seal' in all automobiles as the mechanism is only available in diesel-run vehicles.
A separate mechanism has to be built for vehicles run with gas, octane and petrol engine, which has become a major obstacle in implementing the decision within the March 10 deadline, sources from BRTA said.
BRTA officials are yet to determine alternative method for vehicles run with gas, octane and petrol engines.
A High Court suo moto ruling in March last year directed that from March 2009 installation of 'speed governor seal' will be mandatory for all kinds of automobiles to reduce the growing number of traffic mishaps caused largely by speeding.
Speed governor seal is an in-built mechanism used for controlling the speed limit of motor vehicles as per the officially approved speed fixed by the authorities concerned. Whenever a driver tries to go beyond the approved speed limit, the mechanism limits acceleration by adjusting engine fuel injection system.
The court through the ruling asked the government and other authorities concerned to ensure the installation of speed governor seal in all vehicles to compel the drivers to drive within the speed limit approved by the Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1983.
Following publication of a report on the death of a Dhaka City College student Sadia Afrin Suchi, the HC bench issued the rule on December 13 2007, asking the authorities to explain why installing the device should not be made compulsory.
According to BRTA, in 2007 a total number of 417 fatal traffic accidents occurred in Dhaka city while the number was 2,893 in the entire country. BRTA officials identified rash driving as one of the major reason behind traffic accidents.
As per the eighth schedule of the Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1983, the maximum speed for light vehicles like private cars is 113km per hour (kmph), for passenger vehicles like buses and minibuses it is at 56kmph, while the maximum speed for heavy vehicles like lorries is 40kmph and fire brigade vehicles is 48kmph.
The ruling also said if automobile owners fail to install the device before the deadline set by the court, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) and the police department will be empowered to impose a fine of Tk 200 for each day of violation. The fine will be doubled if the vehicle is caught second time without the speed governor seal.
The ruling also prohibited sale of any new or old motor vehicle without the speed governor seal.
BRTA Chairman Sunil Kanti Bose said, “BRTA is working to ensure the compliance of the order by posting advertisement in the newspapers and sending notices to its offices in all districts. Public announcement with loudspeakers and mobile court drive are also going on.”
A letter has been sent to the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Buet to help introduce a speed-limiting mechanism for vehicles run by gas, octane and petrol engines.
“From this year we will keep digital database of vehicles with speed governor. However, there are many vehicles that do not appear for fitness certificates. It will be difficult to monitor these vehicles,” he noted.
The total number of registered vehicles in the city is around 4 lakh, out of which around 5,500 are buses and minibuses. The number is around 10 lakh in the entire country. There are also thousands of unregistered vehicles.