Technology, not fines will deter offenders
Mumbai city’s attempts to become a clean city by levying heavier fines isn’t going too well, going by news reports. In fact, the police is promising to privatise it all to ensure enforcement. Well, promises mean nothing. We want a clean city and so far it seems like a dream. And so does a city where everyone follows traffic rules. Here too, the cops feel that the way to go is to increase fines for traffic violations.
Whats quite clear to me is that people aren’t afraid to break rules, and they aren’t afraid of the fines…because they know they may never get caught and even if they do, why, they can get away with bribing can’t they? By increasing the fines, the cops have made citizens more eager to bribe the cops.
Delhi city too has decided to impose heavy fines. The city has increased fines for breaking traffic rules across the board – now you have to pay Rs 1500 for using mobile phones while driving, Rs 600 for not wearing a seat belt, Rs 600 for unauthorized parking, Rs 900/- for speeding and Rs 2500/- for drunken driving. Sounds impressive and in fact it looked really nice in front of television cameras – Rs 17 lakh collected in just a day! IBN Live actually showed the Delhi cops taking fines and reprimanding offenders. Thats what the Mumbai police did as well. Called the press as they collected fines and forced people to sweep the roads when they littered. But that was only for the cameras. As this picture on the right shows (taken on a main road near the Bandra flyover just last week) littering continues unabated. And we aren’t just talking of toffee wrappers.
Take a look at the picture below, taken in Pune recently. Everyone ignoring the red light. Not a policemen in sight. What good will a hefty fine do?
I agree with top cop Kiran Bedi when she says that cameras, CCTVs and the latest technology is the need of the hour if offenders are to be caught. People will not argue their innocence, and cops will find it impossible to accept bribes. Traffic Security Expert Dinesh Mohan, an international traffic rules consultant who has studied traffic in Libya, Iraq and Indonesia is of the view that “better enforcement and monitoring traffic violation on roads is more important than fines.” Both these experts were speaking to IBN Live.
The good news is that in Delhi there will now be an electronic record of all violations and that means that repeat offenders will be found out. After three offences there will be stringent punishments, like suspension of licences. Mumbai too will have a similar system and perhaps then a real fear might grip the habitual offenders. That is if the offenders are caught in the first place.