Fast-fade licences are driving motorists crazy

Low-quality printing job on essential driving document has car-owners fuming
By Sumanasiri Gunatillake and W. G. Wickremesinghe

Complaints are pouring in from drivers across the country who say they are being harassed by the police because the information printed on their newly issued driving licences has begun to fade.

Through no fault of their own, drivers are being fined by the police for producing illegible licences; and to add to their annoyance, the drivers have to pay Rs. 550 to apply for a fresh copy of a licence.

Department of Motor Traffic commissioner B. Wijayaratne told The Sunday Times that there was a printing problem with one particular batch of licences. “We have asked the police not to take action against drivers carrying recently issued licences,” he said.

According to Mr. Wijayaratne, the Department of Motor Traffic provides a plastic “security cover” when it issues a new licence; however, most drivers neglect to use the protective cover, and as a result of wear-and-tear the data gets erased even faster.

Lucky Pieris, Senior Superintendent of Police, Traffic, told The Sunday Times that he was not aware of any cases of drivers being fined because of obscured license data. But he said it was the duty of those carrying defective licences to inform the Department of Motor Traffic and apply for a new licence.

SSP Pieris said the Department of Motor Traffic had informed the police about the problem. Should a driver produce a licence with erased data, he said, the police will call the Motor Traffic Department to confirm the authenticity or validity of the licence.

“If there’s anything wrong with a driving licence, it is the driver’s duty to get it renewed or replaced,” the police official said. Drivers in areas such as Moneragala and Menikhinna, in Kandy, are among those have had to apply for new licences.

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