…4780 𝒊𝒏𝒅𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒅𝒖𝒂𝒍𝒔 𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒄𝒂𝒖𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒂 𝒗𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒅 𝒅𝒓𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒍𝒊𝒄𝒆𝒏𝒔𝒆, 𝒊𝒏𝒄𝒍𝒖𝒅𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒆𝒙𝒑𝒊𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒍𝒊𝒄𝒆 𝒏𝒔𝒆
By Phurpa Wangmo
Recent data from the Bhutan Construction and Transport Authority (BCTA) has unveiled a disconcerting trend within the country – an increasing number of individuals flouting driving license regulations. Between the year 2022 and the first week of October 2023, a staggering 4,780 individuals were apprehended for various violations related to driving licenses. These violations ranged from driving without a valid license to being caught with licenses that had expired. These culprits were intercepted during the ad hoc and random highway checks conducted by the authorities.
Among this concerning figure, 4,563 individuals promptly adhered to the rules and regulations 2021 set forth by the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) . These responsible individuals promptly settled their fines, which amounted to Nu 1,750 for driving without a valid license. Nevertheless, there is still a tenacious group of 217 individuals who are yet to remit their fines for these violations, highlighting the pressing need for stronger deterrence measures.
In light of these disconcerting statistics, an official statement from the BCTA not only emphasizes the troubling increase in individuals driving without valid licenses but also highlights the intensified surveillance measures implemented by BCTA officials and the Traffic Police. The government and concerned authorities are keen to address this issue to enhance road safety.
Expressing their concerns about this prevalent issue, individuals like Kinzang Dendup from Trashigang shared their personal experiences. Dendup recounted a harrowing incident where a youth, possessing only a learner’s license, nearly collided with his vehicle. Despite the potentially dire consequences, the individual attempted to dissuade Dendup from reporting the incident to the traffic authorities. In a rare display of understanding and cooperation, both parties resolved the matter amicably, underscoring the importance of a more harmonious approach to tackling this issue.
Similarly, Karma Yangzom from Thimphu shared her experience of failing the driving test twice, a frustrating situation that has left her in a predicament. Yangzom admitted to occasionally driving during off-peak hours for emergencies, citing her anxiety during the driving box test as the reason she hasn’t attempted it again. Her experience highlights the emotional and psychological aspects that often play a significant role in people’s decisions to drive without a valid license.
Dorji, another concerned citizen, recalled an accident on the Paro highway that left his vehicle severely damaged. This unfortunate incident occurred when another speeding vehicle attempted to overtake him recklessly. Despite reporting the incident to the traffic authority, Dorji observed that the driver of the other vehicle did not possess a valid license, later discovering that the individual had been driving his brother’s car. This serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of driving without proper licensing and the potential hazards it poses to everyone on the road.
In response to these mounting concerns, an official from BCTA has reassured the public that measures have been put in place to increase the availability of driving test slots for individuals holding learner licenses. This move aims to encourage those in this category to undertake the test at their convenience and obtain their licenses legally, thus addressing the reasons behind many individuals’ decisions to drive without proper authorization.
Furthermore, the BCTA is actively involved in several initiatives aimed at enhancing road safety. This includes Road Safety Education programs, rigorous enforcement of Road Safety protocols, and continuous monitoring of compliance with Transport regulations. To ensure adherence to safety standards on the roads, regular collaborative inspections and monitoring activities with the Traffic Police are being conducted, reinforcing the government’s commitment to making Bhutan’s roads safer for everyone.