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Traffic and Road laws in Bangladesh

Traffic and Road laws in Bangladesh – Updated in 2024

The administration of traffic and enforcement of traffic laws in Bangladesh have always been a mess. Our nation’s road construction has never been able to keep up with the rapid increase of vehicles. In recent years, however, the situation has deteriorated as a result of the lax laws and high demand for drivers, as a result of which many new drivers did not even apply for driver training and learned to drive “on the job.”

As of February 2017, the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) reported that the country had over 2.9 million registered vehicles, but only 1.9 million drivers’ licenses. Lacking any knowledge of traffic laws or safe driving, these one million “ghost” drivers have taken a bloody toll on the roads. According to Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, a forum for passenger welfare, there have been at least 224 fatalities and 866 injuries in 203 road accidents in the first 12 days of August 2019 alone.

A traffic law reform was long overdue, but it was repeatedly delayed due to the opposition of transport workers. A catalyst was necessary to rally public support for reform, which occurred in 2018 at the tragic cost of two lives. Two Shaheed Romijuddin Cantonment College students were killed on July 29, 2018, when a speeding bus crashed into a bus stop on Airport Road. Consequently, the inaction of authorities and the callousness of the transport and shipping ministers at the time sparked a nationwide student protest demanding better traffic laws and road safety.

To begin with, each license now carries 12 points. A point is assigned to a driver’s license for nine types of traffic violations, such as speeding and excessive horn use. When a driver’s license reaches 12 points, it is revoked. When asked for comment, a senior-level Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) official requested anonymity and stated that it is currently impossible to enforce this measure because the majority of drivers do not have digital driving licenses. As the BRTA is currently experiencing difficulty issuing new driver’s licenses due to card shortages, proper implementation will also take considerable time.

Second, the introduction of an academic requirement stipulates that the applicant must have completed at least eighth grade before applying for a license. Although this is unquestionably an improvement, it does not change the fact that a person without even a High School Diploma can drive a vehicle. As surprising as it may seem, academic credentials were not required to apply for a license in the past.

Inflated fees

The updated fines were another alteration that drew everyone’s immediate attention. The fines now have a significant number of additional zeros.

Previously, driving without a license resulted in a fine of only 500 TK. With the new law, the fine has increased to TK 25,000. Using a fake license to drive? Also used to be 500 tk, but is now between 1 and 5 million tk. Driving without a fitness certificate is now punishable by a fine of TK 25,000, while jaywalking, driving without a seatbelt, and illegal parking, previously punishable by a fine of TK 200, are now all punishable by a fine of TK 5,000. The maximum fine for driving on the wrong side of the road, speeding, disobeying traffic signals, and riding a motorcycle without a helmet is TK 10,000.

While these updates are understandable and expected, they have the unintended consequence of transforming what was previously a minor inconvenience for most into something that has the potential to financially devastate a middle-income family for several months. Car owners must be much more cautious with their vehicle and, more importantly, their hired driver, whose license may or may not be authentic.

The modification to the “alteration to motor vehicles” section will undoubtedly be detrimental to all car owners. The previous Section 42 was left ambiguous and the fine was only TK 5,000. In the new act, Section 40 replaces Section 42 and adds 18 classifications in which modifying a motor vehicle is punishable by a fine of up to TK 3 lakh. These classifications include both front and rear overhangs (the basic dimensions of the car), which technically makes the addition of steel bumpers to the majority of automobiles a violation of this law. In addition, aftermarket exhausts, larger wheels, modified horns, indicators, and brakes fall under the category of “illegal modification.”

Mishaps and the death penalty

In 1983, the maximum sentence for causing death through reckless and negligent driving was seven years in prison. In response to protests by truckers in 1985, the Ershad government amended the Penal Code to reduce the maximum sentence to three years.

Section 105 of the eleventh chapter of the new act states that if anyone is seriously injured or killed in an accident involving a motor vehicle, it will be considered an offense under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. This ranges from Section 302 to 304B, with the death penalty as the maximum sanction. The offenses covered by section 105 of the act do not qualify for bail.

The reception of these changes has been, to say the least, contentious.

This opinion is shared by many car owners who, while agreeing with the act as a whole, consider this price increase to be excessive.

Some car owners believe that the time has come to eliminate the annual AIT fees for cars or to implement a flat rate so that everyone can update their documents without difficulty.

Recently, the government of Bangladesh enacted New Traffic Rules. The issue of traffic is one that everyone faces on a daily basis. The safety of road travelers and pedestrians is a pressing issue in Bangladesh at present. Traffic congestion varies throughout the day, necessitating planning and longer trips; this has a negative impact on productivity, regardless of socioeconomic status.

Transport planning disregards the needs of pedestrians, despite the fact that walking is a significant mode of transportation for the majority of low-income individuals. New Traffic Rules are implemented to decrease the number of accidents on the roads. Nearly eighty percent of Dhaka’s traffic victims are pedestrians struck by a fuel-powered vehicle. Let’s examine the new Bangladesh traffic rules for 2023 .

The government’s new road and highway regulations were perceived to be lenient towards drivers and pedestrians. Not all of the busy intersections and roundabouts had police officers present. The head of the transportation industry, BRTA, issued a directive to support the implementation of the new law. The majority of incompetent drivers disobey traffic laws, resulting in chaos and fatal accidents.

Bangladesh’s traffic cannot be managed in the absence of a proper and foolproof guideline. In addition, the authorities lack the necessary technical support to track random dope tests on drivers. To enforce traffic regulations, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) drew up a chart of fines for all types of vehicles. The Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has created a chart to aid in the implementation of the new law.

Fine List BD

According to the old rule, the maximum penalty for violating a traffic law was two years in prison, while the minimum was one month. The maximum fine is 5,000 Taka and the minimum is 100 Taka. Under the Road Transport Act of 2023 , however, the maximum fine is up to 5 lakh Taka and the minimum is 5,000 Taka. If the number of traffic rule violations remains unchanged, the new fine chart will result in a substantial increase in the amount of fines collected.

New LawsExisting laws
Driving without license6 months jail with Tk. 25000 fine4 months jail with Tk.400 fine
Vehicle without registration6 months jail or Tk. 50,000 fine or both3 months jail or Tk. 2,000 fine or both 9 (for first time)/ 6 months jail or Tk. 5,000 fine or both (for second time)
Unfit Vehicles6 months jail or Tk. 25,000 fine or both3 months jail or Tk. 2,000 fine or both 9 (for first time)/ 6 months jail or Tk. 5,000 fine or both (for second time)
Vehicles without route permit6 months jail or Tk. 25,000 fine or both3 months jail or Tk. 2,000 fine or both
Meter tempering6 months jail or Tk. 50,000 fine or bothNone
Body Modification3 years jail or Tk. 300,000 fine or both2 years jail or Tk. 5,000 fine or both
Over speeding3 months jail or Tk. 10,000 fine or both3 months jail or Tk 5000 fine or both
Honking banned horns3 months jail or Tk. 15,000 fine or bothTk 200 fine
Using wrong route3 months jail or Tk. 10,000 fine or bothTk 200 fine
Violating traffic signals3 months jail or Tk. 10,000 fine or both1 months jail or Tk. 500 fine or both

Fines for Violating Traffic regulations

According to the New Traffic Rules 2023 , a large number of individuals are still unaware of the new fine and punishment amounts. For your convenience, a complete table is provided below:

This new traffic rule 2023 went into effect on November 1, 2023 . Aside from a few exceptional cases, the majority of people have a favorable attitude toward the new law.

New Bangladesh Traffic Rules for 2023 (BRTA Act 2023 update)

As Bangladesh’s long-awaited Road Transport Act, 2023 went into effect on Friday, enforcement was lax on the first day in Dhaka. On the streets, members of the Traffic Division of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) were observed to be lenient with commuters and pedestrians. Sergeants were present, but not at all, of the busy intersections and roundabouts.

Infractions to the 2018 Road Transport Act in Bangladesh:

On October 8, 2018, the legislature passed a new Road Transportation Act. This act provides road transport security for any violations of the Motor Vehicle Ordinance Act of 1983. In this new act, laws have been revised and new definitions have been added for any offenses carrying the heaviest fines and punishments.

This new law shall be known as the 2018 Road Transport Act. In addition, this law became effective on November 1, 2019. In Bangladesh, traffic has been a significant issue for everyone. The new law is intended to reduce the number of accidents on the road, but it cannot be enforced without clear guidelines. In this new law, fines have also been increased. In addition, the legislature has added a few requirements to obtain a driver’s license.

To meet the requirements, a minimum 8th-grade passing grade is necessary. It is a violation of Section 4 of the 2018 Road Transport Act to operate a motor vehicle on public roads without a valid license.

Section 4 of the 2018 Road Transport Act prohibits anyone with an expired driver’s license from operating a motor vehicle on a public road. The holder of a license for a particular category of vehicle may only operate vehicles in that category. Additionally, there are certain requirements to operate vehicles in other categories, and those vehicles will be selected according to Section 4. (c).

Everyone who wishes to operate public transportation must obtain authorization from the proper authorities.
Under section 5 (b) of the Road Transport Act of 2018, a driver’s license, permission paper from the authority, etc., will be verified for public transportation vehicles.

To obtain a driver’s license, the following papers and documents must be submitted to the authority:

• Certified copy of the national identification card • Payment of the required fees
• Minimum graduate of Class Eight or above, or its equivalent, and a minimum age of 18 years
• Must be mentally and physically capable Must have passed the driver’s examination

If a license holder wishes to change his or her address, he or she must submit a form with the new address within three months. In addition, the new address will be recorded in accordance with Section 6 (8).

Foreigners are permitted to possess a valid driver’s license. However, they must adhere to the aforementioned regulations and submit to authority. Section 9 of the Road Transport Act 2018 stipulates that if the foreigner violates the new traffic laws of Bangladesh, his license will be revoked and he/she will be prohibited from operating any vehicle on public roads.

Vehicle Registration:

Every vehicle must be registered before it can be driven on the road. Section 16 requires that each individual submit the document for registration in written form. To operate a motor vehicle on a public road, you must also display your license plate. Without a license plate, driving on an open road is illegal.

Also, under section 16 clause 7, all foreign vehicles must be re-registered in Bangladesh.

No one other than the vehicle’s owner is authorized to make changes to the registration certificate. Moreover, he lacks the authority to utilize a fraudulent registration certificate.

Vehicle condition:

The eligibility of a vehicle must be verified prior to its registration. In addition, it is illegal and hazardous to operate a vehicle in poor condition. Not only are unqualified vehicles harmful to the environment, but they are also hazardous to operate on public roads. Consequently, the vehicle must pass the safety inspection. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle on a public road with a forged or expired certificate of roadworthiness.

Under section 25 of the Road Transport Act of 2018, he will be prosecuted if he issues a certificate to a vehicle that is unfit for operation.

According to section 26, every owner of a motor vehicle is required to pay the government a tax. In addition, it is a provision of the Motor Vehicles Tax Act of 1932.

Route permit:

The route authorization will be granted by the transportation committee. Unless authorized by the transportation committee, the vehicle owner is prohibited from driving on public roads or allowing others to do so.
If the route permit is not properly explained, section 28 stipulates the following conditions.

Commercial vehicle usage:

Vehicles lacking route permits are ineligible; these types of vehicles are not permitted for business use. In certain exceptional circumstances, these vehicles may be operated without route authorization if they possess an authorization.

These vehicles may not be used for business purposes if they are not authorized by the government and they are not permitted to be used for business purposes. In addition, the authority to use the vehicle for business purposes is not granted under section 31 of the Road Transport Act of 2018.

Elimination of Unauthorized Structures Near Highways:

Alongside the roads of Bangladesh, illegal stalls selling tea, plastic toys, inexpensive clothing, etc. are commonplace. These stalls must maintain a distance of at least 10 meters from the slopes of the roads. The police or road safety authority will take action to demolish these illegal structures in order to construct safe roads.

Utilization of traffic signals and signs on public roads:

Every motorist must obey traffic laws and signals. The traffic rule authority can remove the illegally parked vehicle at any time. Additionally, traffic officers should measure the speed of moving vehicles.

Speeding is prohibited for everyone. There is a maximum speed limit for all vehicles. Each and every vehicle and driver is prohibited from driving recklessly, exceeding the speed limit, or passing another vehicle. The police have the authority to stop recklessly driving vehicles on public roads. These regulations are contained in sections 42 and 44 of the 2018 Road Transport Act.

Restitution to the Victim or His or Her Family

A person is entitled to compensation under Section 53 of the Road Transport Act 2018 if he is injured, his property is damaged, or he dies unnaturally as a result of a motor vehicle.

In addition, if a person violates sections 3 and 4, he will be punished according to section 66. He will be punished by imprisonment for up to six months or a fine of up to twenty-five thousand taka, or both.

Under the 2018 Road Transport Act, the standard of traffic law has been significantly enhanced. In addition, the application of the law and the severity of punishment have become much more firm and stringent. Each and every one of us must obey the traffic regulations. With this new law, we can aid the government in ensuring road safety.

Penalties Under Motor Vehicle Ordinance

ধারাবিবরণধার্যকৃত জরিমানা
১ম বার
ধার্যকৃত জরিমানা
২য় বার
১৩৭অপরাধের শাস্তি প্রদানের সাধারণ বিধান২০০/-৪০০/-
১৩৯নিষিদ্ধ হর্ণ কিংবা শব্দ উৎপাদনকারী যন্ত্র লাগানো ও ব্যবহার১০০/-
১৪০ (১)আদেশ অমান্য, বাঁধা সৃষ্টি ও তথ্য প্রদানে অস্বীকৃতি৪০০/-
১৪০ (২)ওয়ানওয়ে সড়কে বিপরীত দিকে গাড়ি চালনা২০০/-
১৪২নির্ধারিত গতির চেয়ে দ্রুত গতিতে গাড়ি চালাইলে৩০০/-৫০০/-
১৪৬দূর্ঘটনা সংক্রান্ত অপরাধের৫০০/-১,০০০/-
১৪৯নিরাপত্তাবিহীন অবস্থায় গাড়ি ব্যবহার২৫০/- (এইরূপ পরিস্থিতে যদি দৈহিক জখম বা সম্পত্তি ক্ষতি হইলে ১,০০০/-
১৫০ধুয়া বাহির হওয়া মটরযান২০০/-
১৫১সঙ্গতিবিহীন অবস্থায় গাড়ি বিক্রয় অথাব গাড়ির পরিবর্তন সাধন২,০০০/-
১৫২রেজিস্ট্রেশন, ফিটনেস সার্টিফিকেট অথবা পারমিট ব্যতীত মোটরগাড়ি ব্যবহার১৫০০/-২৫০০/-
১৫৩অনুমোদিত এজেন্ট ও ক্যানভাসার৫০০/-১০০০/-
১৫৪অনুমোদিত ওজন অতিক্রমপূর্বক গাড়ি চালনা১,০০০/-২০০০/-
১৫৫অ-বীমাকৃত মোটরযান চালনা৭৫০/-
১৫৬অনুমতি ব্যতীত গাড়ি চালনা৭৫০/-
১৫৭প্রকাশ্য সড়কে অথবা প্রকাশ্য স্থানে প্রতিবন্ধতা সৃষ্টি৫০০/-
১৫৮মোটরযান অনুমোদিত হস্তক্ষেপ৫০০/-

 Are you planning to do arbitration or  looking for alternative dispute resolution remedies in regards to Traffic laws or road laws in BangladeshBangladesh?

Tahmidur Rahman Remura Wahid TRW is a full-service law firm that has been dealing with arbitration consisting of a wide range of topics at both international and local level. We have barristers that have specialised in  international commercial arbitration from the United Kingdom and accredited civil-commercial mediators. 

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