Open papers foil police efforts to track errant drivers


By Dilanthi Jayamanne

Secretary Ministry of Transport, Highways and Civil Aviation (THCA) Nihal Somaweera yesterday said that errant drivers could not be caught with the help of CCTV cameras in most cases as they had bought vehicles with open papers.

Addressing the media at the Ministry Premises in Sethsiripaya, Somaweera said the Motor Traffic Department of the Police were in a dilemma in tracking the owners of some vehicles involved in accidents recorded on CCTV camera as they were not the original owners of those vehicles.

The Secretary said there were serious risks involved in purchasing vehicles with open papers as they may have been involved in fatal accidents or some criminal activities.

The briefing was organised by the National Council for Road Safety (NCRS).

DIG (Traffic) Amarasiri Senaratne said the police had detected six million drivers who were not residing in the addresses mentioned in their licences. However, now there was a requirement for any change of address to be notified to the Department of Motor Traffic within 30 days.

The DIG said there were over 710 unclaimed drivers’ licences at the Fort Police. They belonged to motorists who had, after being ticketed, lodged complaints with other police stations that they had lost their licences and obtained new licences. He warned that legal action would be taken against such persons shortly.

He said that 1,027 persons had been killed in motorcycle accidents in 2015 while in 2014 the number of deaths in motorcycle accidents had dropped to 915.

Last year alone 225 motorcycle riders had died as the protective helmet they were wearing cracked in crashes. About 40 pillion riders, too, had died due to the same reason.

The DIG said over 145 motorcycle riders had died as they had not strapped their helmets properly. The number of pillion riders who had lost lives due to that reason last year was 71.

The DIG said three wheelers and motorcycles accounted for 40 percent road accidents.

Chairman of the National Council on Road Safety, Dr Sisira Kodagoda said there had been 1,189 accidents from January to May 31 last year. This year the numbers had come down to 1,144 during the corresponding period, he added.

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