Actions geared to ensure the safety of citizens, in particular on the roads due to the high rate of road victims, are among the key highlights of Budget 2018-2019. A series of measures, with emphasis on a zero tolerance for drunk driving, has been announced to prevent road fatalities and promote a safer environment.
The Budget makes provision for amendments to the law for tougher penalties with regard to road traffic offences including speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs as well as dangerous driving.
The list of offences in relation to which a Fixed Penalty Notice may be served will be consolidated and increased from 141 to 204. As regards speeding by more than 25 km per hour above the speed limit, the fine will be increased from Rs 2,500 to Rs 10,000. In respect to fines while driving under disqualification, driving without a licence and authorising a person prohibited from driving by reason of age to drive, these will be increased from Rs 10,000 to Rs 100,000.
Furthermore, a driver who has committed three Cumulative Road Traffic Offences listed under the new Penalty system will be issued with a Cumulative Road Traffic Notice informing him that on being convicted for two more Cumulative Road Traffic offences, his licence will be suspended for a period of six to 12 months.
A probationary driving licence will be issued to new drivers for a probationary driving period of two years wherein certain offences committed will entail extension of his probationary driving period or revocation of his probationary driving licence when he commits major road traffic offences.
Moreover, the Police Force will be provided with additional mobile speed cameras to undertake spot checks.
As regards improving safety on the roads, Budget 2018-2019 has earmarked Rs 275 million to reengineer hazardous roads; install conspicuous traffic signs to alert drivers of accident-prone areas; and intensify educational and awareness programmes, training of driving instructors as well as review driving testing standards.
In addition, Rs 600 million is being provided to the Road Development Authority for road maintenance, including Rs 75 million for the construction of pavements and Rs 75 million to restore road markings and signage.