Thukten Zangpo

The Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) came up with new regulations to cope with the emerging issues of the growing number of vehicles and new technology.

The Road Safety and Transport Regulations (RSTR) 2021 will replace the 20-year-old RSTR 1999 and will come into force starting in January of next year.

RSTA’s chief transport officer, Sithar Dorji said the earlier regulations do not capture the pertinent and trending issues of present-day surface transport.

Some of the provisions under the existing regulations were vague and difficult to understand, leading to differences in interpretation, he added.

Earlier, drink driving was a primary concern, however, the abuse of drugs while driving is becoming an emerging issue, Sithar Dorji said.

He also said that drivers’ licenses can be viewed online through the mRSTA app now.

“The new regulations will bring clarity and ensure uniform implementation across the country,” Sithar Dorji said.

One of the major changes in the regulations is that persons with a disability or disabilities can get an ordinary driver’s license, subject to a medical certificate from a doctor in the country.

Moreover, the renewal of the roadworthiness certificate for vehicles, excluding commercial vehicles, will be done once every three years. However, commercial vehicles, including taxis, have to do the renewal every six months.

The new provisions also do not allow unlawful modification of vehicles such as changing the vehicle colour without informing the RSTA, using tinted glass on any sort for the car windows and tinted lighting systems in a vehicle, extending the size of the vehicle beyond what is specified by the manufacturer, and modifying the horn with an intention to produce excessive noise.

If a person is found driving without a learner’s license, CID card, or other forms of identity issued by the Home Ministry, the offense will be recorded and a penalty applied. Earlier, there was no such basis.

The age limit to apply for medium, heavy, and equipment licenses has been reduced to 21 years from 25 years. People undergoing the driving test with a vehicle with auto transmission will be allowed to drive only an auto transmission vehicle.

For passenger buses, the operator has to submit the list of drivers and conductors to the authority with the name of the transport company for the issuance of the identification cards. It was found that there were cases of drivers being switched during the journey. Passenger buses will not be allowed to engage in the transportation of commercial consignments.

Any package or property (non-perishable), if it remains unclaimed for more than 28 days, will be delivered to the nearest police station. In the case of perishable property, it would be disposed of by the authority.

The RSTA changed 135 new provisions and omitted 14 provisions from the previous regulations.