Motorists watch out, strict enforcement of traffic laws, claim police

By Damith Wickremasekara

Stringent traffic laws including driving on the correct lane, heavy vehicles and three-wheelers restricting themselves to the left hand lane, and ‘No Parking’ on pavements will be enforced from next week within Colombo city and expanded to other main towns shortly, a Senior Police officer said yesterday.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police- Traffic Administration, Road Safety & Western Province (WP) Traffic Operations, Ashoka Wijetillake told the Sunday Times that the strict enforcement of the laws is aimed at minimising accidents and also raising the standard of traffic law enforcement within Colombo city to be on par with international levels.

He said that pedestrians would be required to cross roads at pedestrian crossings within the city, and those violating the laws will be charged in courts. “We will take down their identity card number and give them a date to appear in courts, where they could be charged a minimum fine of Rs 500,” he added.
DIG Wijetillake said that in January there were 44,119 traffic violations filed within the Western Province, prompting police to take immediate action to prevent further increases.

He said there were a series of accidents caused as a result of pedestrians crossing the roads haphazardly. “In certain instances, pedestrians were forced to use the roads instead of the pavements which are meant for them, as they are obstructed by vehicles parked on them. That is the reason we are getting strict on those parking on pavements,” he added.

He said that, if the driver of a vehicle parked in an unauthorised place cannot be located within a short period, the vehicle will be towed to the nearest police station, with the cost of towing to be met by the owner of the vehicle.

Among the other restrictions would be that temporary (Red) number plates issued by the Motor Traffic Commission to transfer vehicles from the port to car sales centres or showrooms, cannot be used to travel around. “Police detected 1,848 cases of the use of red number plates during January in the WP,” he added.

He said that Police also hope to strictly enforce the regulations regarding tinted glasses on vehicles from next week.

“There will be no more warnings on this. To date, the system was that whenever police detected vehicles with a tinted glass, they confiscated the driving licence, while directing the driver to remove or reduce the tint and report back to the police. But in future, there will be no more warnings and they will be produced in courts”, he added.

DIG Wijetillake further said that, more often major traffic blocks and accidents are caused because motorist failed to keep to the correct lane, particularly when turning into and out of roads. He said that, in addition to the deployment of traffic policemen, they would also make use of the CCTV cameras installed within in the city to detect errant motorists.

DIG Wijetillake said that they hope to enforce similar traffic regulations in the other main towns.
Meanwhile, Colombo Municipal Council’s Chief Administrator Omar Kamil told the Sunday Times that they are in the process of looking for new parking areas to ease the problem of parking.

“We are looking at privately owned lands adjoining main roads such as the Galle Road. We will allow them to operate the parks, or we will rent out the lands and operate the parks,” he aid. “We are also calling upon private land owners to introduce vehicle parks,” he said.

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