Law and Order: Almost four months after the zero tolerance initiative by the traffic police was introduced, unlicensed driving in the country has reduced significantly, reports show.

From an average of 40-50 cases of unlicensed driving caught every week in the first few weeks of the programme, the number has dropped to just 10-20 cases a week.

Police officials have recorded unlicensed driving as the third most frequent offense preceded by drunk driving and not having the driving license on person during inspection.

As of last Friday, about Nu 5.37 million was collected as fines throughout the country from the zero tolerance initiative.

Besides unlicensed driving, incidences of other traffic related offenses have also reduced according to police officials.

They attributed the decrease to awareness and sensitisation imparted during the patrols. “People are now more responsible while driving. The drivers don’t drink while driving and most of the commuters choose public transportation,” said one of the police officials.

Gangjung Driving Centre of Excellence is one of the driving schools in Thimphu that provides introductory courses to people wanting to get a driving license. The school has recorded an increased number of individuals registering for the course.

The centre provides a certificate after completion of the half-day course that offers basic introduction to beginners on vehicle controlling system, the right of way rule, vehicle lighting, traffic signals, parking regulations, and pedestrian crossing.

The instructor of the centre, Bal Bahadur Gurung, said that the number of people registering has almost doubled since the initiation of zero tolerance day. From January till July 12 this year, a total of 661 drivers have registered themselves for the course.

The Road Safety and Transport Authority issued a total of 3,763 driving licenses (professional and ordinary) from January till July 14, this year. The number is more than double of what was issued within this time last year. A total of 5,855 driving licenses were issued from January to December, last year.

By Younten Tshedup