The Legal Change in Compensation for Death and Injury in Road Crashes -Md. Shawkat Alam Faisal


It takes four years for RTA rules to come into effect after the law is enacted. In the event of a road accident resulting from reckless or negligent driving, the family of a deceased person will receive at least Tk. 5 lakh in compensation.
According to Section 149 of the Road Transport Act of 2018, victims who lose a limb or suffer other forms of life-changing injuries will receive a compensation of Tk. 3 lakh each, while victims likely to recover will receive a compensation of Tk. 1 lakh. An independent 12-member trustee board will be responsible for settling compensation claims, which will be subject to approval from the government from time to time.
After more than four years following the enactment of the act in September 2018, the authorities published a gazette containing the new rules on December 27, 2022. According to BRTA Spokesperson Mahbub-E-Rabbani, the authority would begin executing the guidelines once the system is in place. In the absence of the rules, various provisions of the law could not be enforced, including the compensation provision.
The rules, which went into effect immediately, also specify how much money a vehicle owner must pay to the trustee board-managed compensation fund. The board was constituted in October 2022, overseen by the BRTA chairman. However, it could not carry out its duties in the absence of the regulations that are intended to govern the fund and the board.
The new rules include a “demerit point” system for traffic offenses. According to the laws, each driver’s license will have 12 points, and a traffic infringement will result in a one or two point loss. If a driver accumulates all 12 points, his or her license will be cancelled.
The guidelines also re-established fees for several services offered by the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA). Many of the fees have been raised by the authorities.
According to the act, conductors of heavy vehicles, often known as helpers, must be licensed. The conductors must have studied beyond class 5 and be over the age of 20 under the new criteria.
Following nationwide demonstrations for safer roads in July and August of 2018, lawmakers passed the Road Transport Act. However, the law was supposedly delayed until November 2019 owing to lobbying from transportation associations.
Victims or their family members might claim compensation at the Motor Accident Claim Tribunal under the Motor Vehicles Ordinance 1983 for death, injuries, and property damage caused by crashes.
When the statute went into force in 2019, the victims’ chances of receiving compensation were reduced because the ordinance was repealed. Victims rarely file writ petitions with the High Court demanding compensation under Article 102 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
According to the act, the government would establish a fund to compensate and treat road crash victims, with a one-time or annual “contribution” from vehicle owners.
The charge for a bus, truck, lorry, or semi-trailer truck is Tk. 1,500 each year, while the fee for a minibus, mini truck, or pickup is Tk. 750; Tk. 500 for a car, SUV, or microbus; and Tk. 300 for a three-wheeler. A motorcycle owner must pay a one-time fee of Tk. 1,000.
Vehicle owners who fail to pay the charge on time will be fined Tk. 50 for each month they are late. The trustee board may adjust the fees at any moment with the authorization of the government, according to the act. Those seeking compensation must complete a form and submit it to the trustee board chairman within one month of the accident.
According to the rules, the chairman will organize a probe committee within 10 days of receiving the application, and the committee will produce a report on the damages within a month. Within 30 working days after receiving the report, the board will take action to recompense the victim.
Within 30 days, an individual may file an application for review of the board’s decision. After receiving the review prayer, the board will issue a notice of hearing within a week and make a decision within a month.
A person who is dissatisfied with the board’s judgment can file an appeal within a month, and the secretary of road transport and roads division will hear and decide the issues within a month.
If someone is dissatisfied with the appeal judgment, a search committee will select an arbitrator who is a retired secretary, a district judge, or a person of comparable stature to resolve the problem in 45 days.
The guidelines specified 13 offenses for which a driver could receive demerit points. A driver can lose two points for overloading and willfully impeding the movement of other cars, as well as one point for each of the other 11 offenses.
The points can be deducted by a mobile court, a BRTA official not lower than the rank of motor vehicle inspector, or a police official not lower than the rank of sub-inspector sergeant. The official must have a photo or video of the offense and quickly notify the driver and the authority after deducting a point. A driver can seek for a review of the decision by paying a fee within a month, and the authorities will make a decision within a month.
Following an appeal, if a driver does not infringe any rules for six months, the authority may return two points. However, if a driver loses eight points, they will be unable to appeal for two years.