KP Sharma

Speeding, driving under influence, unlicensed driving, lack of control of the vehicle, and drivers’ carelessness continue to result in major road accidents, with 1060 road accidents, and 102 deaths in the past year, the highest recorded in the last four years. 

In fact, the Bhutan Construction and Transport Authority (BCTA) reported that the road crash fatality rate for the financial year 2022-2023 was 6.3 persons per 10,000 vehicles, while the data with the police showed an increase by 35.89 percent, or an additional 280 vehicle accidents when compared to the previous year. 

In the previous year, a total of 780 motor vehicle accidents had been recorded, including 80 deaths and 547 injuries. 

In 2023, the police recorded 240 cases of not having control of the vehicle, 109 cases of drunk driving, and 92 cases of unlicensed driving.

Despite efforts to decrease the number of road traffic accidents, there has been an increase in road traffic accidents, fatalities, and injuries last year compared to previous years. 

Thimphu recorded the highest number of motor vehicle accidents with 205 cases, followed by Chukha with 161 cases. 

To address the issue and enhance road safety, in addition to increased vigilance, the police and the Bhutan Construction and Transport Authority (BCTA) had introduced a nationwide drug test for professional driving licenses holders (PDL).

According to the BCTA’s annual report for the financial year 2022-23, approximately 1,320 individuals underwent drug tests as a measure to ensure the safety of both drivers and passengers on the roads.

During the tests at different locations, 394 individuals were tested in Gelephu, 369 in Samdrupjongkhar, 265 in Thimphu, 212 in Mongar, and 80 in Phuentsholing. 

As part of its efforts to improve and advocate for road safety among both road users and the general public, the Bhutan Construction and Transport Authority (BCTA) also initiated theme-based awareness campaigns such as educating the public about the hazards associated with activities such as drink-driving, unlicensed driving, speeding, using mobile phones while driving, and substance abuse while operating a vehicle.