Samdrupjongkhar traffic police penalised four drivers since the implementation of zebra crossing rule on April 9 this year. The fines were imposed on drivers who failed to give way to pedestrians in designated areas.

Police officials say they will impose fine on pedestrians if they violate the zebra crossing rule.

They said they have created awareness and sensitised both the pedestrians and drivers for two weeks to make them understand the rule.

The implementation of the zebra crossing rule, police officials say helped in maintaining road decorum in the locality.

A traffic police official said the response has been good from those behind the wheels. “Pedestrians need to walk faster while crossing the road.”

A taxi driver, Tashi Tshewang, 35, said that some of the pedestrians talk over the phone or with their friends and take a longer to cross the road.

He said pedestrians should at least have some courtesy to walk faster as the drivers also need to reach their destination on time. “It is understandable if the pedestrian is old or disabled.”

Police officials say that most of the pedestrians are uneducated and it will take time to understand the rule. “We will continue educating drivers and pedestrians until they are adequately informed,” a traffic police official said.

He said that after sensitization, pedestrians will be penalised if found walking through the path for vehicle and if they stand in the middle of the road.

Pedestrians should not cross a road if there is zebra crossing within 20 metres but if there is no zebra crossing within 20 metres, drivers should stop the vehicle if there are pedestrians crossing a road.

The officials said that it is difficult to implement the rule since there are many non-nationals entering into the area and it is difficult to penalise them since they do not carry cash to pay fine.

“We are left with no other choice than sending them back without imposing fine because issuing them transport infringement notice (TIN) will create audit problem in future,” the official said.

The zebra crossing rule in the country was implemented by the end of 2015 but it started late in Samdrupjongkhar because of the construction of the footpath along the roadsides and blacktopping of the potholes.

According to Road Safety and Transport Act 1999, pedestrians moving into the path of a vehicle and standing on the road will be imposed a fine of Nu 550 while a fine for drivers failing to give way to pedestrians on designated areas was revised to Nu 1,200 from Nu 700 on April 15 this year.

Kelzang Wangchuk |  Samdrupjongkhar