Bangladesh officials in confusion about way of implementation

August 13, 2015

Speed Limiters in Vehicles
Bangladesh officials in confusion about way of implementation
The impromptu decision to install speed limiters in all vehicles that go on highways has put government officials and experts in a dilemma as they do not have any idea how to implement it.
They said the move was taken when the technical problem, for which a similar move had failed six years ago, was still there. The National Road Safety Council (NRSC), the apex policymaking body to ensure road safety, at a meeting on Monday, decided to install speed limiters in vehicles, capping their top speed to the national speed limit 80kmph.
It was said in the meeting that it was done to reduce the number of accidents but its implementation was not discussed.
In 2008, the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) moved to control vehicles’ top speed by installing “speed governor seals”. But soon it realised that the device was applicable for diesel-run vehicles only.
Some diesel-run vehicles also had the device installed but those were removed due to lack of monitoring, and the initiative fizzled out eventually.
“Speed governor seals” throttle the engines’ fuel injection to stop acceleration beyond the capped speed.
The government could not install speed governors for gas-, octane- and petrol-run vehicles. These three types account for four times the number of diesel-run vehicles in the country, sources said.
“The decision to cap speed with governor seals is not possible without an alternative device applicable for vehicles running on gas, octane and petrol,” said urban transport expert Prof Shamsul Hoque, also a teacher of Buet’s civil engineering department.
He said developed countries do not use “speed governor seals” because speed limits vary on road conditions. “Same speed limit can not be fixed for all roads and all types of vehicles,” he said, emphasising the need for strengthening police enforcement, better signs mentioning the speed limit, and speed cameras to check speeding on highways.
In developed countries, the police with the help of speed cameras check speeding. No government official could say whether this would be the case on our highways.
If so, it would open a new avenue for business for some quarters as the government would have to spend crores of taka to buy equipment and engage manpower.
“We will sit with technical experts and then chalk out the detail course of action on implementation,” said Nurul Islam, director (engineering) of BRTA.
In the last few years, the government took decisions regarding bans on three-wheelers on highways, checking reckless driving and operation of unfit vehicles but could not implement those as the decisions were made without any background work and preparations, said experts.
The unique example of this is the difficulty and challenge the government is facing now to enforce the ban on three-wheelers on highways.
In the name digitalisation, the Road Transport and Bridges Ministry made mandatory some steps but that cost the transport owners thousands but brought hardly any benefits.
Installing retro-reflecting number plates and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, and digital blue books are two of them.
The reasons behind their implementation were to track and trace vehicle, check vehicle theft or their use in criminal activities, and prevent duplication of number plates and blue books.

-With The Daily Star input

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