Law & Order: The zero tolerance initiative of the Royal Bhutan Police is working, going by the number of motorists penalised.  And it is not only in the capital.

In the capital, following incidents after the initiative was introduced, the thromde was asked to designate pick-up and drop zones on the busy Thimphu-Babesa expressway by May 20.

In Samdrupjongkhar, police are also seeing a reduced rate in what is called the police division VIII.  Samdrupjongkhar, Pemagatshel, Nganglam and Jomotsangkha police stations (PS) fall under the division.

Police collected Nu 144,050 in fines from motorists on the first Friday when the day came into force, April 24.  They collected Nu 121,900 on the second Friday, and it decreased to Nu 37,600 last Friday, indicating that motorists are being cautious.

Nu 51,000 alone was collected from Nganglam on the first Friday, while Nu 82,650 and Nu 12,840 was collected from Samdrupjongkhar on the second and third Friday.

Most fines collected were from motorists driving without licenses, other documents and overloading.  Friday was declared zero tolerance days, as most traffic accidents occur on the day, according to police.  Anybody found committing the simplest traffic violation is penalised.

Police officials said this indicates people are taking zero tolerance days seriously and are sensitised. “Some kind of fear motivation is created where they become alert so they tend to carry the necessary documents.’

Meanwhile, the division is also seeing a decrease in crime rate.  Although figures for 2015 were not available, crime rate decreased by 16 percent in 2014 from 2013.

Battery cases have been topping the list for two consecutive years with 44 cases, followed by motor vehicle accident, 40 cases and ku sung thuk ten or zung related cases with 31 cases.

The decrease in the crime rate was attributed to various partnership programmes that are working actively, annual crime prevention advocacy, door-to-door sensitisation, crime education to the truckers and drivers, patrolling and securing vital installations.

“Human error and mechanical failures are the reasons for increase in motor vehicle accidents, while alcohol, jealousy and provocation are reason for battery case,” according to police.

Samdrupjongkhar PS tops with maximum number of cases with 56 alone in 2014.  But it is a decrease from 66 cases recorded in 2013.

About 40 percent of the cases were reported from Dewathang gewog, the nearest gewog to the thromde area, compared to three other gewogs in Samdrupjongkhar and only one case was reported from Samrang gewog.

Police officials said the other reason could be because most of the cases get resolved internally in the gewog.

By Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupjongkhar