With the completion of the widening and blacktopping works at the Kanglung-Trashigang highway, over-speeding along the stretch is on the rise, according to officials from the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA).

Officials said despite regular inspections and awareness programmes on traffic regulations, drink driving and over speeding are the most common traffic offences in the area.

They say it is difficult to prove the offence of over speeding without proper equipment. “We know that vehicles are over speeding but then our remarks are mostly based on assumptions,” an official said. “It is difficult to prove since many offenders do not accept it and we do not have any concrete evidences.”

However, the office received a speed radar gun to monitor over speeding in the dzongkhag. “We are using the speed gun to create awareness on over speeding among drivers especially along the newly blacktopped stretch,” said an official.

Vehicles are seen slowing down in presence of traffic officials holding the speed gun. However, the deterrent is limited only in the presence of traffic officials.

A resident of Pam village, Karma Dorji, said most young drivers tend to drive recklessly at high speed along the newly blacktopped stretch. “There are labours living by the roadside. Kids are left carelessly by the roadsides which is risky.”

He said that a permanent measure should be in place to monitor the speed in the area. “The speed gun is only effective with an official behind it. Once the traffic officials leave, the cars speed up again.”

RSTA officials said that with the introduction of the speed gun, drivers have become more cautious. “In collaboration with traffic police, RSTA also conducts surprise inspections on alcohol use and on garbage disposal,” an official said.

A recent study conducted by the information and communications ministry shows that using a mobile phone while driving (6,648) tops the traffic offence between 2011 and 2016. It is followed by drink driving at 5,907 and over driving at 5,697.

Meanwhile, a 66-year-old Kanglung resident died on the spot after an ECHO van he was driving veered off the road at Namla, near Jampeling Central School in Kanglung yesterday.

The incident occurred around 1pm when the deceased was returning from Trashigang. The deceased was alone during the incident. The body has been handed over to the family.

The cause of the accident is not yet known.

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang