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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Communications passed the National Highways Safety Amendment Bill, 2022 proposing increase in fines for violating traffic laws, including driving while intoxicated on the motorways.

The committee meeting was held under the chairmanship of Prince Ahmed Omer Ahmedzai. The committee discussed, “The National Highways Safety Amendment Bill” clause by clause. The bill moved by Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi intending to increase penalties for various violations. The bill aimed to make motorway safer for our citizens, he claimed.

The committee chairman opined that the increase in penalties is not meant to collect revenue but to curb violations. The bill seeks a five-fold increase in fines for the purpose of controlling the damage caused by overloaded vehicles and speeding.

Some committee members observed that the proposed fine is very high. At present, toll tax is also very high, when this government took over, from Islamabad to Lahore toll tax was Rs300 but now it is Rs900.

Senator Hafiz Abdul Karim said that in this bill for trucks; a 500 percent increase in fine is proposed, which is too high. I oppose such an increase in fines, he added.

The secretary Communications, while giving a briefing said that the fine for driving in a dangerous manner has been increased. It is proposed to increase the fine from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000; increase the fine for driving under the influence of drugs to Rs 25,000 and also increase the fine on vehicles with artificial shaded glasses.

Senator Muhammad Akram was of view that penalties should be fixed by keeping in view the capacity of the public.

IG Motorway Police Inam Ghani told the committee that the bill is designed only to increase penalties for major offences. Senator Shammim Afridi told the committee that majority of drivers of heavy vehicles are addicted to drugs and tabled bill would prove fruitful in curbing this menace. After the detail deliberations, the committee unanimously passed, “The National Highways Safety Amendment Bill” with amendments.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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